Tuesday, November 01, 2005

GameDay: vs. Chicago (3-8-0, 6 Pts) 7:00 ET

Detroit/Chicago mini-series: Game 3

Tonight is the third of eight games the Wings will play against the Hawks this season and the final game of a home-away-home series that began last Thursday. Detroit won the first two games of the mini-series, 5-2 Thursday at the Joe and 4-2 Saturday in Chicago.

The Wings will look to match the longest winning streak in franchise history by notching their ninth straight victory. They've already had the best start in their history, going 11-1-0 in their first 12 games. They have outscored their opponents 21-6 in their last four games and have leapt out ahead of the league with the highest scoring offense at 51 goals. They remain at the top of the league standings with 22 points, four more points and three more wins than the next best team, Vancouver. The gap in goals-allowed has narrowed: the Wings have given up 23 goals and the Senators have now given up 22, when they formerly had only allowed 17. The Wings are 5-1 at home this season.

The Blackhawks will look to get out of this three-game mini-series with some vestige of dignity. They have not been at all impressive over the past two games and have basically handed the Wings two wins. They cannot rely on Khabibulin to win them a game, as they did on Saturday. He may have come out of his funk but that's no excuse for sloppy play on the part of the skaters.

Manny Legace will get the start for the Wings again, after a short one-game hiatus. I like this quote from Chris Osgood (quoted in NHL.com's preview):
"I'm hoping I can play as good as (Legace) can, offset him and give this team the best goaltending they've had in years. That's our goal."
That's a high order, Chris, given the goalies the Wings have had over the past few years but I'm hoping you can accomplish it, too.

Jason Woolley will miss another game with a slight tear in his groin. Both papers tells us not to expect him back any time soon. He is not skating yet and Mike Babcock is being extra careful with groin injuries. For now, his spot will be taken by Brett Lebda and perhaps Jamie Rivers on some nights.

If the Wings can get their ninth straight win, they will match a record met four separate times by this franchise. The most recent instance was in March, 1996 and involved the 95-96 squad that won 62 games. Hopefully that won't cause more people to draw parallels between this team and that one but it would be quite a feat.

Remember, because the game is on OLN, its start time has changed from 7:30 to 7:00 ET.


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