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Red Wings-Blackhawks set-up: teams desperate for Wild Card spots prepare for a ‘brunch game’

The Detroit Red Wings will attempt to rebound from Saturday's loss to Pittsburgh as the Wings head to Chicago to play the Blackhawks at a strange time.

With playoff NFL games scheduled for 1 PM and 4 PM on networks that are not NBC, NBC has re-scheduled tomorrow's originally-7-PM-starting game for 12:35 PM EST (on NBC/TVA Sports/97.1 FM), which would be "a little early" for most...but if you live in the Central Time Zone, where the game is being played, the game starts at 11:35 AM. That means an early wake-up call for a scarfed-down breakfast, pre-game stretching, dressing and ultimately 11 AM warm-ups.

So the 17-18-and-7 Red Wings will battle the 22-16-and-6 Blackhawks, who are coming off a 3-1 victory over the Winnipeg Jets on Friday. In the Blackhawks' last game before their Bye Week, Jeff Glass will be starting for a Blackhawks team that's won 3 of its past 4 games and 4 of 6 January tilts.

Glass and Anton Forsberg have been splitting starts for the Corey Crawford-less Blackhawks, and the Chicago Sun-Times' Mark Lazerus reports that the Blackhawks have been just fine without their starting netminder:

Since a disastrous game in Vancouver, Jeff Glass and Anton Forsberg have done more than just hold down the fort; they’ve held up the season. The Hawks have yielded only 20 goals in their last eight games, going 5-2-1 and climbing back into the playoff picture in the process.

Forsberg is 2-1-0 with a .943 save percentage. Glass is 3-1-1 with a .918 save percentage and is coming off a 31-save performance in a 2-1 victory Friday against the Jets, who had scored four or more goals in six of their last seven games.

Glass will start again in the matinee Sunday against the Red Wings, the Hawks’ last game before their bye week.

‘‘We’ve had good goaltending and consistent netminding all year,’’ coach Joel Quenneville said. ‘‘They keep doing what they’re supposed to do, and that’s make it tougher on us on [deciding] who starts and who gives us a chance every night to get points. This year, for sure, goaltending’s been good for us.’’

Lazerus continues, re-telling ex-KHL star Glass's story, and the rest of the Hawks' lineup is a little less certain. Chicago made a trade in which Dick Panik headed to Arizona for Anthony Duclair on Thursday, and the Chicago Tribune's Paul Skrbina reports that Artem Anisimov is iffy for Sunday:

Just ‘OK’: Quenneville said center Artem Anisimov won’t return from injured reserve until after the team’s off week, which begins Monday. He has been on IR since Dec. 29 with an upper-body injury but was on the ice before practice Saturday.

“He was just OK today,” Quenneville said. “We’ll see how he is (Sunday).”

What about Corey? Quenneville said there was no news on the progress of goalie Corey Crawford, who has been out since Dec. 27 with an upper-body injury. When pressed about whether concern was growing about Crawford, Quenneville was evasive.

“We’ll know more when we get him on the ice, so it’s tough to say,” Quenneville said.

Still sidelined: Tomas Jurco was recalled from Rockford on Monday, but the winger still is waiting to make his NHL debut. Defenseman Erik Gustafsson was called up Tuesday and has yet to play.

Quenneville said he hopes to give both players an opportunity but wasn’t sure when that might be.

“We want to get them in games,” Quenneville said. “But we have a lot of options.”

Skrbina also reports that David Kampf is impressing the Hawks as a rookie sensation, stepping in for the injured Anisimov:

He turned 23 on Friday [against Winnipeg] and became the first player in franchise history to score his first goal on his birthday.

“He said it’s pretty special,” teammate and interpreter Jan Rutta said. “It’s the best day in his life that he scored his first NHL goal on his birthday.”

Kampf added an assist in a victory that pushed the Hawks back into the second wild-card spot.

Kampf listened to a few questions from reporters in English, then gave his answers to Rutta in Czech. Rutta turned those words back into English.

Teamwork has been evident in Kampf’s game since he made his debut Dec. 28 against the Canucks. He has a goal and four assists in nine games. The Blackhawks’ hidden secret is becoming less of a secret with each game.

Veteran Patrick Sharp played on a line with Kampf and the since-departed Richard Panik on Jan. 5 and said Kampf’s understanding of the game is better than some give him credit for.

“They were yapping back and forth (in Czech),” Sharp said. “I don’t know if they were talking about me or the game or what. He understands a lot. He’s a smart player.”

Skrbina offers the first of our Red Wings-Blackhawks previews...

Trending: The Blackhawks have killed 18 of their last 19 penalties. … Goaltender Jeff Glass stopped 31 shots Friday, the fourth time in five games he has had at least that many saves. The Blackhawks have won four of six since the start of the year.

The Blackhawks website offers another preview...

LAST GAME: The Blackhawks defeated the Jets 2-1 on Friday night at the United Center. Chicago killed of all three Winnipeg penalties and now have killed 18 of their last 19 dating back to Jan. 3. David Kampf and Jan Rutta picked up one goal apiece in the win. Jeff Glass turned aside 31 of 32 shots to pick up the victory vs. Winnipeg. It was the first time in his career that he has allowed one goal or less in a start. He has made at least 31 saves in four of his five appearances and is now 3-1-1 this season.

VS. RED WINGS: Chicago holds a 269-337-78-11 mark all-time against the Red Wings, including a 162-133-47-7 record at home. The Blackhawks split the two-game season series 1-1-0 last year. Six different players tallied two points in the two matchups against the Red Wings, including Patrick Kane (2A), Duncan Keith (1G, 1A) and Ryan Hartman (2A). Kane leads the Blackhawks with 38 career points (11G, 27A) in 43 games against the Detroit. Glass has not faced the Red Wings in his career.

PARTY LIKE IT'S YOUR BIRTHDAY: David Kampf recorded his first career NHL goal on his 23rd birthday against Winnipeg. Per Elias, he became the first Blackhawk in franchise history to record their first career goal on their birthday. He also added a helper for his first career multi-point performance. He has four points (1G, 3A) over his last four games. The Chomutov, Czech Republic, native won eight of his 10 (80 percent) faceoffs against the Jets. He has won at least 50 percent of his faceoffs in five straight games, including over 70 percent in three of them.

JORDAN, STOPPER: Jordan Oesterle ranked second on the team with 22:38 of ice time and posted one hit and two blocked shots in the win over the Jets. He has logged at least 20:00 of TOI in 11 straight games coming into Sunday's matchup against Detroit.

ONE-TIMERS

  • Jan Rutta notched a marker vs. Winnipeg. He has two goals and two assists over his last six games. He leads Blackhawks blueliners with five goals this season.
  • Anthony Duclair registered an assist in 11:57 of total ice time in his first game as a Blackhawk after being acquired on Wednesday. He has 16 points (9G, 7A) this year.
  • Connor Murphy tallied a helper against the Jets. It was his second helper over his last three games.
  • Alex DeBrincat picked up his 14th assist of the 2017-18 campaign. He shares sixth among league rookies with 28 points this year.

As well as coach Joel Quenneville's off-day presser...

ChicagoBlackhawks.com's Eric Lear also Tweeted out the Hawks' practice lineup, at least up front...

With The Athletic's Scott Powers filling in the rest:

If you're interested, the Associated Press and NHL.com provide recaps of the Blackhawks' victory over Winnipeg on Friday, and NHL.com posted a highlight clip from the game:

STATS/The Sports Xchange's game preview serves as our pivot point between the Blackhawks and Red Wings' perspectives:

The Chicago Blackhawks will face off against an old division rival when they host the Detroit Red Wings on Sunday at the United Center. The teams have met 733 times during the regular season and 81 times during the playoffs since their first game in 1926. But a divisional realignment before the 2013-14 season sent the Red Wings to the Eastern Conference while the Blackhawks remained in the Western Conference, which reduced the rivalry to a fraction of what it once represented.

Still, the stakes are high as Chicago (22-16-6) welcomes the Red Wings to its building for the only time this season. The Blackhawks are part of a crowded field of playoff contenders and hope to pick up two more points before the start of this week's five-day break between games.

Chicago coach Joel Quenneville will turn to Jeff Glass, a 32-year-old rookie, to start in goal. Glass toiled for years in the minor leagues and Russia's Kontinental Hockey League, but he has made the most of an opportunity to replace injured goaltender Corey Crawford. In five starts, Glass is 3-1-1 with a 3.01 goals-against average and a .918 save percentage.

...

Detroit (17-18-7) is looking for a bounce-back performance after dropping its past two games. The Red Wings will play on short rest after losing 4-1 on the road to the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday afternoon.

Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill will have to adjust his line combinations because of lower-body injuries to Darren Helm and Justin Abdelkader. Both players were hurt in Saturday's game and have been ruled out against the Blackhawks.

The Red Wings recalled Dominic Turgeon from Grand Rapids on Saturday afternoon, giving the youngster a carrot for having added offense to his steady defensive game. He'll probably join David Booth in the Wings' forward lineup, with either Luke Witkowski or Xavier Ouellet serving as the Wings' seventh defenseman.

Goaltender Petr Mrazek could make the start for Detroit after Jimmy Howard opened the back-to-back set on Saturday. Mrazek has struggled (3-5-1, 3.78 GAA, .885 save percentage) in 12 appearances this season. He also has fared poorly during his career against the Blackhawks (0-2-1, 5.20 GAA, .864 save percentage).

Those statistics could prompt Detroit to start Howard for the second day in a row. Howard is 14-13-6 with a 2.68 GAA and .915 save percentage in 35 games this season. In 22 career appearances against Chicago, the Syracuse, N.Y., native is 7-8-5 with a 2.66 GAA and .908 save percentage.

The Red Wings were blunt in their self-criticism after Saturday afternoon's loss, as the Associated Press's recap notes:

Detroit went 1 for 7 on the power play. Pittsburgh was 2 for 5.

"If you look at it, their best players were better than our best players," Red Wings captain Henrik Zetterberg said. "I think if you go down to it, they score. They took care of business on the power play and we didn't."

Malkin opened the scoring 3:01 into the first game for each team since their five-day break. Carl Hagelin, from behind the net, fed the puck in the slot to Malkin, who beat Howard to the glove side.

The teams traded power-play goals later in the period.

Abdelkader tied it with a shot between Jarry's pads and Kessel gave Pittsburgh the lead when he one-touched a Crosby pass behind Howard from in close. The Penguins, the No. 1 unit in the league, have 12 power-play goals in their last 10 games.

Detroit had just one power-play goal in its previous seven games entering Saturday's contest.

The power play had Jeff Blashill exasperated while speaking with the media, as the Detroit News's Ted Kulfan noted...

“We have to shoot the puck; we had opportunities to shoot the puck and we didn’t,” Blashill said. “Our power play has to be better. Our shooting mentality has to be better. The Zetterberg unit, when they were in the zone, were good, but we had trouble getting into the zone. The (Dylan) Larkin unit was discombobulated the whole night. They weren’t on the same page whatsoever. We have to be better than that. You get a chance to have an impact on the game.”

The Penguins had 36 shots to 30 for the Red Wings, though almost half of Detroit’s shots (14) came in the third period.

Evgeni Malkin had two goals and two assists, Phil Kessel had a goal and two assists, and Sidney Crosby had a goal and assist, as the Penguins’ Big Three combined for nine points.

“If you look at it their best players were better than our best players,” Zetterberg said. “That’s what it came down to. They scored and took care of business and we didn’t.”

It doesn’t get any easier for the Red Wings Sunday. They play Chicago (22-16-6, 50 points) in a nationally-televised game (12:30 p.m., NBC, 97.1).

The Red Wings fell eight points behind Pittsburgh and the New York Rangers for the final wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference.

“We’re just not in position where we can go and hope we didn’t miss a step (coming back) from the break,” forward Frans Nielsen said. “We had to come out here and play the right way and we didn’t do that.”

Kulfan also filed a brief Wings-Hawks preview:

Outlook:  The Blackhawks (22-16-6, 50 points) are clinging to the final wild-card playoff spot in the Western Conference. … Chicago is 5-4-1 in its last 10 games. … RW Patrick Kane continues to be an offensive force (18 goals, 27 assists, 45 points).

The Wings continued lamenting their power play while speaking with the Free Press's Helene St. James...

“If we were to get one or two early there, it would have been a lot different, but we didn’t,” Henrik Zetterberg said. “But then also, when we got our chances, even 5-0-5, I thought we really had some Grade A chances we turned into Grade D chances ourselves. Instead of putting the puck towards the goalie, shooting the puck when we have a chance to score, we tried to make another play.”

Coach Jeff Blashill faulted the team’s shooting mentality and power play.

“That was the difference in the game,” he said. “We have to shoot the puck. We had tons of opportunities to shoot the puck and we didn’t. So then when you don’t, first of all usually when you shoot it, you get it back. Second of all, you don’t create any chaos. In the first period, we had tons of chances to shoot it and in the second, we had an unreal 4-on-2 rush and we decided to go behind the back. We have to be a shoot-first-mentality-type team. Our power play has to be better, and our shooting mentality has to be better.”

It’s the second straight game the power play has been a big letdown — it went 0-for-4 against Tampa Bay on Sunday, and has produced just two goals the last 27 opportunities, spanning eight games.

Dylan Larkin’s power play unit was especially ineffective, but Henrik Zetterberg’s wasn’t much better. Considering the minutes the Wings spent with the man advantage, the lack of impact cost the Wings two points.

And DetroitRedWings.com's Dana Wakiji noted that while Jimmy Howard kept the Wings-Penguins game from getting out of hand, Howard didn't feel quite like himself:

Jimmy Howard : Howard missed the last game before the break due to knee stiffness but pronounced himself ready to go after the team practiced in Pittsburgh late Friday afternoon. Howard was tested early and often. Malkin beat him twice, at 3:01 of the first on a nice pass from former Michigan forward Carl Hagelin, and then again at 2:08 of the second period on a great pass from Kessel. Kessel scored on the power play at 16:35 of the first when Crosby found him driving to the right side of the net and he tipped it past Howard. Howard stoned Kessel on a breakaway at 3:28 of the second. Howard finished with 32 saves.

Quotable: "Definitely I thought I was rusty coming off the break. My body and head felt right, it was just following the puck with the eyes. Once you get people in front of your, it was a little more difficult to follow the puck." - Howard

Quotable II: "I thought he was solid, it certainly wasn't a game where you fault him by any stretch. We need elite goaltending to win and there's times where Jimmy's been elite but I thought he was solid. We got to be better than we were." - Blashill

 

Update: NHL.com's Charlie Roumeliotis posted a game preview for game #671 on the NHL schedule:

The Game: The Chicago Blackhawks look for their fourth win in five games when they host the Detroit Red Wings at United Center on Sunday.

Goaltender Jeff Glass will start for the second consecutive game. He made 31 saves in a 2-1 win against the Winnipeg Jets on Friday.

Red Wings forward Dominic Turgeon, who was recalled from Grand Rapids of the American Hockey League following a 4-1 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins on Sunday, is expected to make his NHL debut.

Players to watch: Red Wings forward Henrik Zetterberg has 14 points (two goals, 12 assists) in his past 13 games.

Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane has 38 points (11 goals, 27 assists) in 43 career games against the Red Wings, and is three points shy of 800 for his NHL career.

They said it: "Maybe a little timing [is off], but now at least ... I feel refreshed. Legs were good. Hand-eye was a little off, but brain was fresh. We like these breaks." -- Red Wings forward Henrik Zetterberg on playing back-to-back games coming off of a five-day break

"It was great for the fans. Everyone loved it, be it here or Detroit. You had a little of everything in the stands; a lot of red, for sure. That tremendous playoff series we had (in 2013), down and going to Game 7, there are some good memories there, some fun games as well. We know it'll be competitive." -- Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville

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Comments

PierreC's avatar

not related to this thread but i believe this is a good read…

http://www.sportingnews.com/nhl/news/nhl-trade-rumors-sabres-tank-draft-rasmus-dahlin-standings-buffalo-jack-eichel-evander-kane/1togxwz793d3h15ihbk0e3goo0

Posted by PierreC from Montreal, Canada on 01/14/18 at 12:02 AM ET

ilovehomers's avatar

Posted by PierreC from Montreal, Canada on 01/14/18 at 12:02 AM ET

Thanks for the link! A good read indeed about the macro level missteps of the sabres. I’m still not sold on eichel getting 10 mil a year, although he is on a 75 point pace

Posted by ilovehomers on 01/14/18 at 12:16 AM ET

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About The Malik Report

The Malik Report is a destination for all things Red Wings-related. I offer biased, perhaps unprofessional-at-times and verbose coverage of my favorite team, their prospects and developmental affiliates. I've joined the Kukla's Korner family with five years of blogging under my belt, and I hope you'll find almost everything you need to follow your Red Wings at a place where all opinions are created equal and we're all friends, talking about hockey and the team we love to follow.