The NHL is set up with another great Wednesday of hockey. Five games are up on the board throughout February 17. One of these games will be between the Chicago Blackhawks and the Detroit Red Wings. These two teams have been up and down this season, but will look for a big win in this one. This game will drop the puck at around 7:30 PM Eastern time on NBCSN.
Chicago has earned a record of 8-5-4 to this point in the season, which has them sitting in fourth place of the Central Division. The Blackhawks have won two straight games and five of their last six entering this one. Chicago is trying to hold on to that early playoff spot with a big win in this one. I expect the Blackhawks to come out fast as they try to grab another win.
The Red Wings have put up a record of 4-10-3 so far this season, which has them in last place of the Central Division. Detroit lost their last game and have lost three of their last four. The Red Wings have not been great this season, but have kept most of their games close. I expect Detroit to try and get back in the win column on Wednesday night.
These two teams are sitting in opposite spots of the division so far this season. The Blackhawks have surprised a lot of people with a strong start so far this season. Chicago will look to grab a big win in this one to keep it up. The Red Wings have not been very impressive, but will look to finally get the offense going as they try to grab the win.
The Blackhawks and the Red Wings have already met up three times this season. Chicago hosted the first game on January 22. Dylan Larkin scored the lone goal for Detroit, which was not enough. Patrick Kane had a goal and an assist, while Alex DeBrincat and Dylan Strome both had two assists on the night. Kevin Lankinen stopped 30 of the 31 shots he faced to lead the Blackhawks to a 4-1 win.
The second game of the season series stayed in Chicago on January 24. Tyler Bertuzzi scored twice for the Red Wings, while Filip Hronek had two assists. Detroit came up short though. Pius Sutter had a hat trick and Mattias Janmark had a goal and an assist. Connor Murphy had a goal and an assist as well, while Patrick Kane had two assists. Kevin Lankinen turned away 25 of 27 shots as the Blackhawks won 6-2.
Detroit hosted the third game of the season series on February 15. Christian Djoos and Vladislav Namestnikov each scored for the Red Wings to help force overtime. Mattias Janmark opened up the scoring. Dominik Kubalik scored twice, including the game winner in overtime for Chicago. Malcolm Subban stopped 27 of 29 shots as the Blackhawks won 3-2.
Chicago has dominated this season series so far, winning all three games. Monday night’s game was the closest as Detroit forced overtime, but it was not enough. The Red Wings will look to come out quicker in this one at home. Detroit was able to control a good portion of the last game, but will need to create better scoring chances if they want the win.
The Blackhawks have been strong on special teams to open up this new season. Chicago has capitalized on 17 of their 52 power play opportunities, which is a 32.7 percent power play. The Blackhawks have given up 10 goals on their opponents 53 power play chances, which is an 81.1 percent kill rate. Chicago will look to keep up the special teams’ success in this one.
Detroit’s power play and penalty kill have been very weak this season. The Red Wings have been able to score 4 goals on 53 power play attempts, which is a 7.6 percent success rate. Detroit’s penalty kill has killed off 36 of the 49 penalties against them, which is a 73.5 percent penalty kill. The Red Wings will look to step up in a big way in this one.
Chicago has the clear edge on special teams entering this matchup. The Blackhawks have dominated on the power play this season and their penalty kill has been strong as well. The Red Wings have created very little momentum on the power play, which they desperately need to turn around. Detroit will need to pot a power play goal or two if they want to win this one.
I expect Kevin Lankinen to get the nod in the net for Chicago on Wednesday night. Lankinen has earned a record of 6-2-3 throughout his 11 starts this season. He has put up a .925 save percentage and a GAA of 2.49 in those games. Lankinen’s last start was against the Columbus Blue Jackets, where he stopped 29 of 31 shots in the winning effort.
Jonathan Bernier will likely get the start in the crease for the Red Wings in this one. Bernier has started in 5 games this season, going 3-1. He has posted a save percentage of .886 and a GAA of 3.22 in those games. Bernier finished with 21 saves on 23 shots in his return to action against the Nashville Predators, which was enough for the win.
Lankinen has jumped onto the scene so far this season and is a big reason for the Blackhawks early season success. He has posted great numbers so far this season and has done well in his record. Bernier has had a solid record this season, but his numbers could improve. Bernier was out for a while with injury, but should be back in the rotation now.
The Blackhawks have dominated Detroit so far this season, but I expect the Red Wings to bounce back in this one. If Detroit can find a little success on the power play on Wednesday night, it could finally give their offense the bump it needs. Bernier looked good in his return and if he can step up in this one as well, I really like the Red Wings.
BetOnline has Chicago listed as a -126 against the money line in this one. This implies that the Blackhawks will win this game around 55.8 percent of the time. This line makes sense with Chicago’s early season success, but I am not sure if they can keep it up. Detroit has been competitive in most of their games and as big home underdogs, I like them to grab the win on Wednesday.