The Blackhawks, who defeated the Minnesota Wild in five games, had been waiting since Thursday to see whether they’d face the No. 7-seeded Red Wings or No. 6-seeded San Jose Sharks in the second round. The Red Wings earned that opportunity by defeating the No. 2-seeded Anaheim Ducks 3-2 in Game 7 of their series on Sunday night in southern California.
Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said Saturday how he impressed he was with the Red Wings’ recent play before he knew his team would be facing them.
“They had a big run to get into the playoffs,” Quenneville said. “You watch them in these games. You know how they’re intelligent. They know how to win. They know how to play the right way. They keep themselves in the play, and we know how dangerous the can be.”
The Blackhawks and Red Wings have met in the Stanley Cup playoffs 15 times, dating back to 1934. Chicago owns an 8-7 advantage in the previous series. The teams last met in the 2009 Western Conference final, which the Red Wings won in five games.
This will be the final season the Blackhawks and Red Wings meet in the playoffs as Western Conference foes. The Red Wings will move to the Eastern Conference next season.
The Blackhawks and Red Wings have been playing each other since they first met on Nov. 24, 1926. The Red Wings own a 389-313-84 record against the Blackhawks in regular-season and playoff games.
“We’ve pretty familiar with them over the years with a number of games,” Blackhawks forward Patrick Sharp said of Detroit on Saturday. “We know how the buildings get when we play each other.”
The Blackhawks won all four games against the Red Wings during the regular season. It was the first time since the 1976-77 season that the Blackhawks swept Detroit. The Blackhawks won 2-1 in overtime in Chicago on Jan. 27; 2-1 in a shootout in Detroit on March 3; 7-1 in Detroit on March 31; and 3-2 in a shootout in Chicago on April 12.
Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford was the star of the season sweep. He stopped 121 shots and allowed five goals in the four games. He had a 1.19 goals-against average.
Crawford was asked about his success against the Red Wings after the Blackhawks’ practice on Saturday.
“I don’t know,” Crawford said. “I can’t explain it. It’s just one of those teams I guess has gone well for me. Every game is different. It’s just who knows. We’ve had some big gameS against them this year. It’s just one of years, I guess, against a team you’ve played well and everything has gone right for you.”
The Red Wings’ Johan Franzen and Cory Emmerton accounted for four of the five goals scored against the Blackhawks this season. Red Wings goaltender Jimmy Howard was 0-1-3 with a 2.50 goals-against average.
Howard has been a difference-maker for the Red Wings in the playoffs. He stopped 30-plus shots in all four victories, which included three overtime wins.
“They’re a good team,” Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane said on Saturday. “They always seem to play well in the playoffs. They have a good goaltender. We all know how far that can take you.”