With the playoffs on the horizon, I wanted to put together previews of each series, but more specifically, I wanted to put together the type of previews I’d want to read. Bite-sized, few stats, and little splash of opinion for seasoning. This is my attempt at providing that.
1) Chicago Blackhawks vs. 7) Detroit Red Wings
Head-to-Head in 2013: Chicago 4-0-0
A stat: The Hawks were 18-3-3 at home this year.
*** ALL STATS REGULAR SEASON ***
Goal differentials: Blackhawks: +53, Detroit +9
Shots-per-game: Blackhawks: 31.1 (5th), Detroit: 30.1 (10th)
Shots-against-per-game: Blackhawks: 26.2 (4th), Detroit: 27.5 (7th)
CHI: Corey Crawford, .926 save percentage, 1.94 goals-against average
DET: Jimmy Howard: .923 save percentage, 2.13 goals-against-average
CHI: Patrick Kane, 55 points in 47 games
DET: Pavel Datsyuk, 49 points in 47 games
Reason to watch: I’m hoping to see in the early going if Detroit has an answer for Chicago’s straight-up better roster. How do you contain offense like the Blackhawks with Detroit’s defense?
Lately: Chicago beat the Wild in five, Detroit beat the Ducks in seven
Injuries (via NHL.com): “Blackhawks forward Michal Handzus (unspecified) missed two straight practices for what Quenneville termed “maintenance.” Center Dave Bolland and goalie Ray Emery are expected to suit up the first time this spring. … The Red Wings won’t have speedy center Darren Helm (back) or rookie defenseman Danny DeKeyser (broken thumb) for the entire series and will start without veteran forward Drew Miller (finger/hand fracture), who might return at some point against Chicago. Goalie Jimmy Howard is playing through a nagging hamstring issue.”
First game: Wednesday, 8:00 p.m. EST
Flippant barstool opinion: This won’t even be close. Chicago by miles.
If this is going to be a series at all, it’s up to Jimmy Howard to make that a reality.
Prediction: Blackhawks in five.
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