Tonight is the fourth of eight games the Wings will play against Chicago this season. They lead the season series 3-0 after playing the Hawks three games in a row at the end of October and beginning of November. They won 5-2
on October 27th and then went to Chicago to win two nights later, 4-2
. On November 1st, they were back at the Joe and won again, 4-1
. This last game was when Manny Legace's knee troubles began.
The Wings won their first shootout ever Tuesday, beating the Columbus Blue Jackets when Chris Osgood stopped Sergei Fedorov's attempt after Pavel Datsyuk and Jason Williams scored on their shots. The win came in their first game back from a three-game road trip in which they played Atlanta, Florida and Tampa Bay, going 1-1-1 over that span. Some of the Wings have to be riding a high after being named to their nations' Olympic roster. A total of ten Red Wings
will go to Turin and it is very probably that at least one of them will return with a gold medal.
The Hawks' season has not gone very well. They had high hopes for last season's Stanley Cup-winning goalie Nikolai Khabibulin but he has not performed at a very high level so far this season. They have only won once in their past five games and have allowed five or more goals in five of their last six, the only exception being their 5-1 win over the Blues last Friday. They most recently lost to Nashville, 6-1, on Wednesday.
Chris Osgood will get the start tonight, with Joey MacDonald backing him up.
The News reports that Mathieu Schneider will return from his leg injury tonight after missing one game.
Despite the Hawks' record, tonight's game likely won't be an easy one for the Wings. Chicago has a way of getting up to play Detroit and so I don't expect them to roll over this time. Still, the Wings should win and this game should help them get momentum going as we head into the new year.