Not a whole lot of good to report over the last couple of days in Blackhawk land. First, there was the disappointing 1-0 shutout registered on Chicago by the Anaheim Ducks on Thursday night. And then last night, the Chicago “winning streak” balloon got poked in a big way in a 4-2 debacle administered by the Detroit Red Wings.
The Hawks last trip to the Joe in Detroit started off nicely with a beautiful goal by Artemi Panarin (21). The Wings countered with a shorthanded goal and a late tally in the first and for all practical matters, Chicago’s back was broke. Patrick Kane suggested his lackluster play and turnovers had much to do with the outcome. Not sure nyone would argue that point.
“Joe Louis Arena will be torn down to make room for Little Caesars Arena. LCA is a multi-purpose arena under construction in midtown Detroit. Construction began on April 24, 2015 following a formal groundbreaking ceremony on September 25, 2014. Scheduled to open in September 2017, the arena, which will cost $732.6 million to construct, will succeed both Joe Louis Arena and The Palace of Auburn Hills as the homes of the Detroit Red Wings of the National Hockey League (NHL) and the Detroit Pistons of the National Basketball Association.”
From the first game against the St. Louis Blues, Dec. 27, 1979, until now, The Wings have won more home games in the regular season (813) and in the playoffs (108) than any NHL franchise, along with four Stanley Cups. Around the NHL, Joe Louis Arena is hallowed. And the Hawks played much of the game as though it was special Red Wing ground.
Chicago rested defenseman Johnny Oduya and Nikolas Hjmarlsson on Friday evening. With three games in four days, Coach Joel Quenneville kept the pair out before Sunday’s key game against the Minnesota Wild at the United Center.
Now, with a two game losing streak Chicago will need to regroup. The Hawks had been on a uptick winning 12 of their last 13. The two recent setbacks were costly in the Hawk attempt to run down the Wild. Minnesota lost Thursday night at Tampa Bay and were on the ropes Friday at the Florida Panthers but a four goal outburst in the third period provided a 7-4 victory. The Hawks trail Minnesota by three points with the Wild having one game in hand.
Chicago was won the last two meetings of the Central Division heavyweights. The key in Sunday’s matchup will be the play of goaltender Corey Crawford. Crawford still seems very unsure and inconsistent in net. If that continues, you can rest assured Minnesota will put one in the win column. On the other hand, a Chicago win would be a three game run on the Wild. Huge mindset heading into the playoffs. It’s time to refocus on One Game. One Goal.
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