Detroit Red Wings (31-14-10) at Chicago Blackhawks (35-18-4)
|Date & Time||Wednesday February 18, 2015, 7:30 PM (EST)|
The Line: Chicago Blackhawks -160 / Detroit Red Wings +144 --- Over/Under: 5
|TV Channel||Stream NHL games all season on ESPN+. Start your 7-day FREE trial today!|
Luckily for the Detroit Red Wings their current slump is coinciding with everyone else in the Atlantic Division. The Red Wings currently sit in third place with 72 points, eight points ahead of the fourth place Boston Bruins, despite losing three straight games. It started with a poor performance in Pittsburgh last Wednesday night and then a shootout loss in a back-and-forth contest against the Winnipeg Jets on Saturday. Tuesday night the Montreal Canadiens came to town and their top ranked defense shut Detroit down all night long. The Red Wings were frustrated all night long by the Canadiens and just couldn’t generate much against Carey Price, firing just 25 shots his way the entire night. That’s now two straight losses on home ice for a club that is 17-5-7 at Joe Louis Arena this season. Montreal seemed to be in the way of every shot the Red Wings threw towards the net and Detroit wasn’t able to capitalize on either of their opportunities with the man advantage. With the way things are shaping up in the standings it looks like that we could be seeing a potential first round match up of Detroit and Tampa Bay. That would be some exciting hockey that would feature a lot of up and down play and goal scoring. Right now however the Red Wings are just looking to get back on the winning track as they embark on a brutal six game road trip that starts with a contest in Chicago against the Blackhawks on Thursday night.
Chicago hasn’t necessarily played poorly for long stretches this season but when you factor in just how good Nashville and St. Louis it puts them in third place in the Central Division standings. There haven’t been a lot of lengthy winning or losing streaks for this club and we’ve seen that recently with them losing two games in a row and then winning two games in a row for the past few weeks. Chicago is currently in the midst of an eight game home stand that started out with losses to Phoenix and Vancouver before they rebounded with wins against New Jersey and Pittsbugh. Sunday’s affair against the Penguins wasn’t a pretty one but the Blackhawks did just enough to come away with the two points. Niklas Hjalmarsson’s second goal of the season early in the second period gave Chicago a 1-0 lead that they would hold until Pittsburgh tied things early in the third. There were a number of chances in this one but Marc-Andre Fleury and Corey Crawford were both excellent. As good as they were during regulation and overtime, both struggled immensely in the skills competition. Crawford allowed goals by David Perron and Sidney Crosby before stopping Kris Letang. Chicago got goals from Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, and Patrick Sharp, as the Blackhawks went a perfect 3-for-3 to pick up the victory.
Detroit is a pretty heavy underdog in this one and while they’ve struggled of late they always seem to play Chicago well. The teams have only met once this season and it was back in November, but the Red Wings did come away with the 4-1 win. This should be a fun one but I’ll take Detroit on the road.