NHL Preview from The Sports Network|
Sunday, April 10th
(All times eastern)
Detroit Red Wings (46-25-10) at Chicago Blackhawks (44-28-9), 12:30 p.m.
(Sports Network) - When the curtain fell on the 2009-10 season, it ended with
the Blackhawks lifting the Stanley Cup for the first time since 1961. Chicago
needs a point this afternoon in its finale versus the Detroit Red Wings if it
wants a shot at repeating.
The Blackhawks opened up this home-and-home set on Friday at Joe Louis Arena
as the desperate team and looked the part. Chicago potted three goals in the
game's first 8:45 and rode that start to a 4-2 victory, its second in a row.
Defenseman Brent Seabrook got the barrage started just 27 seconds in and
rookie Ben Smith added his first NHL goal in his fifth career game during the
quick opening. Both Seabrook and Marian Hossa ended with a goal and a helper.
"We needed points tonight and I think that was one of our best starts in a
while," said goaltender Corey Crawford, who made 26 saves. "We were hungry. We
came at them pretty hard. I think we surprised them a little bit."
Chicago is holding onto the eighth spot in the Western Conference with 97
points, one back Los Angeles and two behind a trio of teams. The Blackhawks
need just one point in this matchup to secure a playoff spot and they will
move all the way up to the fifth spot with a regulation or overtime victory.
However, should the Blackhawks lose in regulation and the ninth-place Stars
beat the Wild later on Sunday night, Chicago would fall out of the playoff
picture due to Dallas having won the season series. The 'Hawks would still
clinch a spot with a loss if Dallas beats Minnesota in a shootout as they
would have one more non-shootout victory.
Chicago's Troy Brouwer missed his second straight game on Friday with a right
shoulder injury and is questionable for today. Fellow forward Tomas Kopecky
left in the third period after getting hit by a shot on the left side of his
head, but the injury wasn't serious.
The Blackhawks have won seven of their last nine at the United Center and are
24-16-0 at home this season. They snapped a three-game series home losing
streak versus the Red Wings on Dec. 17 and have won the past four meetings
overall as well as seven of the past 10.
While Detroit is assured of home ice in the first round of the playoffs as the
third seed, they ended the regular season 21-14-6 at home following Friday's
loss. The Red Wings are 25-11-4 on the road.
Drew Miller and Tomas Holmstrom had the goals and Jimmy Howard made 25 saves
versus the Blackhawks for the Central Division champion Red Wings, who have
lost two straight and seven of their last 10.
"We still have one more game left to play. We can't just go out there and play
like the way we did tonight," said Red Wings defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom. "We
have to come out and play with a lot more determination than we showed
tonight, because you don't want to be sloppy going into the playoffs."
Detroit's Niklas Kronwall (upper body) and Henrik Zetterberg (lower body)
missed Friday's game and both are expected to sit this afternoon as well with
the Red Wings hoping to get them ready for the postseason.
04/10 10:27:08 ET