Sunday, January 17, 2010
Blackhawks look to continue success against Red Wings
By JESSE ROGERS
Blackhawks' goalie Antii Niemi posted a 3-0 shutout the last time the Hawks met the Red Wings.
DETROIT, Mich. -- Less than 24 hours after taking the ice in Columbus, the Chicago Blackhawks will do it again in Detroit. The good news: The Detroit Red Wings have to do the same. It can be tough enough to adjust to a day game, but two in a row with travel and an earlier start time could make for some interesting hockey.
The Wings also gave up a two-goal lead in their game Saturday in Dallas, but unlike the Hawks they weren’t able to pull it out and lost 3-2 in a shootout.
The Hawks are 2-1 against Detroit this year, shutting them out in consecutive games just before Christmas. In fact, the Hawks have a shutout streak that’s lasted 142:11 against the Wings going back to the second period of their Oct. 8 game.
However, it’s been well documented that the Red Wings were missing a host of players for those December games. Those players scheduled to play Sunday that were absent last month include: Dan Cleary, Henrik Zetterberg, Valtteri Filppula, and Jonathan Ericsson. Of course, this season wouldn’t be the same for the Wings if they hadn’t lost someone to injury since those games. Great slot man Tomas Holmstrom is out for several more weeks with a foot injury.
Antti Niemi will start for the Hawks, having posted a 3-0 shutout last time (Dec. 23) Chicago was in Detroit.
After Saturday’s win in Columbus, the Hawks have now posted a road win against each Central division foe as well as shutting them out at least once this season. They have won eight consecutive games against all four of their division rivals and are 11-3 against the Central overall.
The Hawks will play the back end of their 12th set of back-to-back games this season. They are 8-1-2 so far in the second game.
Kris Versteeg’s career-high nine-game point streak came to an end in Columbus.
After Patrick Kane’s three-assist afternoon, he now ranks fifth in the league in both assists and points (55). He leads all American-born players in both categories. The last Blackhawks player with at least 55 points through 48 games was Jeremy Roenick in 1992-93. Roenick had 58 points in 48 games. Kane has registered a point in 36 of the Hawks 48 games this season. Only Joe Thorton and Henrik Sedin have recorded at least a point in more games.