The Chicago Blackhawks are in Detroit on Wednesday for a showdown with the Red Wings. There are four things to watch in the game.
In their previous meeting this season, the Chicago Blackhawks fell 6-3 to the Red Wings at the United Center. They’ll wrap up the season series with Detroit on Wednesday.
1. Lucas Raymond and Moritz Seider
As a former division rival, it’s often difficult to appreciate what the Red Wings have going on. But Detroit features not one but two of the best young players in the National Hockey League in defenseman Moritz Seider and forward Lucas Raymond.
The former is a big-bodied D man, standing at a robust 6-foot-4 and nearly 210 pounds. At just 20 years old, Seider knows how to throw his weight around. He’s such a good facilitator, accumulating 23 assists, including 11 on the power play coming into Wednesday’s game.
And Raymond is living up to the fourth overall pick in 2020, collecting 11 goals and 22 assists for 33 points in 42 games played.
The Blackhawks will have their hands full in limiting their damage:
2. Seth Jones’ productive history versus Wings
Once the Red Wings were re-aligned into the Eastern Conference, Blackhawks’ defenseman Seth Jones saw a lot of Detroit during his time in Columbus. In 29 career games against Detroit, Jones has four goals – including two game-winners – and 17 assists, averaging 0.72 points per contest.
Despite carrying a -16, the former fourth overall pick in 2013 is off to a tremendous start with his new club. Jones has three goals and 23 assists, two shy of his total points (28) for all of last season.
When these two teams met at the United Center back in October, Jones collected an assist on Dominik Kubalik‘s power-play goal in the second period.
3. Blackhawks power-play vs. Wings PK
The Blackhawks’ offense has sputtered his season, but they could have a decent chance to score when Detroit takes a penalty. The Red Wings’ penalty kill has not been great, sitting at a 78.8 successful kill rate and good for 19th in the NHL.
Since December 1, Detroit has allowed 10 goals on 51 penalty kills (80.4%), which is in line with their season average.
Over that same stretch, the Blackhawks power-play has converted on 14-of-65 chances (21.5%), so there will be an opportunity for Chicago to find some offense on the man advantage.
Entering Wednesday, the Blackhawks’ power-play unit is converting at an 18.8% clip, the 19th best mark in the league. But as noted, they’ve been better lately, scoring power-play goals in four of their last six games.
4. Net presence is a must
In fact, Derek King’s club has scored only four 5-on-5 goals in Fleury’s last five starts.
"“We’re not getting enough net-presence, guys hanging around the net,” Blackhawks interim head coach Derek King said after the loss to Colorado. “We’re getting opportunities. It’s not a lack of chances, goalies are making saves on us, but we need to get a little more traffic in front of the net.”"
How can the Blackhawks achieve this? That means getting guys like Kirby Dach and Ryan Carpenter down low in front of the net to obstruct the goaltender’s sightlines. It’s easier said than done, but the Blackhawks are making it too easy for opposing goalies to track the puck from stick to glove.
The Chicago Blackhawks and Red Wings will get underway at 6:30 pm CT.