Saturday, October 29, 2005

GameDay: @ Chicago (3-7-0, 6 Pts) 8:30 ET

Detroit/Chicago mini-series: Game 2

Tonight is the second of eight games the Wings will play against the Hawks this season and the second of a home-away-home series that will end Tuesday. Detroit won the first game of the mini-series, 5-2 Thursday at the Joe.

The Wings have won 7 straight games and have had the best start of the franchise's history (10-1-0). They have outscored their opponents 17-4 in their last three games, two of which were in Columbus and the latest of which was against the Hawks. They are at the top of the league standings with 20 points, three points and two wins ahead of the next best team, Vancouver. They remain the highest scoring team in the league, with 47 goals, and have only given up 21. Only Ottawa has allowed fewer goals this season (17). The Wings are unbeaten in five road games this season, their only loss having come at home against Vancouver on the 10th.

The Blackhawks have not had a good season so far. They have not been able to string wins together so far but have strung at least two losses together three times now, with the loss Thursday night. They are 2-3-0 at home this season but won't be spending a lot of time in their arena over the next 20 games (they have just six home games in that span). The Hawks need "star goalie" Nikolai Khabibulin to step up his play. His stats are less-than-impressive and he appears to be contributing little to his team's efforts to win.

Goalie Chris Osgood will get the start tonight and Manny Legace will get his first break of the season, according to the Freep. Khabibulin should get the start for the Hawks.

The Hawks will again be without center Tuomo Ruutu (back), and left wings Kyle Calder (elbow) and Eric Daze (back).

I was unable to see any of the game on Thursday but I'm told it was one of the Wings' worst this season. If they play as sloppily tonight as they apparently did last game, they may be in trouble, even if they are just playing Chicago. The Hawks will want a win in their own arena and the Wings will have to be on their toes if they want to pull off a victory themselves. With Ozzie starting, they will need to give him the same support they have given Manny. I'm looking forward to seeing how Osgood looks. It's been a long time.


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