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At the Rink blog

Best start in club history in play for Blackhawks

Sunday, 01.27.2013 / 1:23 PM

By Brian Hedger - NHL.com Correspondent / 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

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2012-2013 At the Rink blog
Best start in club history in play for Blackhawks

It’s always a big game at United Center when the Detroit Red Wings come to play the Chicago Blackhawks, but Sunday night has the potential to be even more special for the home team.

The Blackhawks (5-0-0) beat the Columbus Blue Jackets 3-2 on the road Saturday night to win their fifth straight game to start the season, which tied the 1971-72 mark for best record to start a season in franchise history.

This iteration of the Blackhawks can set the new record by beating Detroit on Sunday night (7 p.m., FS-Detroit; CSN-Chicago) – which could mean even more considering the opponent and intense Central Division rivalry.

The Red Wings are missing a number of injured regulars and are still getting used to playing without retired star captain Nicklas Lidstrom on the blue line. The Blackhawks, meanwhile, are mostly healthy and getting a lot of production from the “core group” of players who were kept around long term after the 2010 Stanley Cup championship season.

RED WINGS

Johan FranzenHenrik ZetterbergDamien Brunner

Valtteri FilppulaPavel DatsyukTodd Bertuzzi

Justin AbdelkaderDarren HelmDanny Cleary

Drew MillerCory EmmertonJordin Tootoo

Niklas KronwallBrian Lashoff

Brendan SmithJonathan Ericsson

Kyle QuinceyKent Huskins

Jimmy Howard

Tom McCollum

Injured: Carlo Colaiacovo (shoulder), Ian White (leg laceration),

Jonas Gustavsson (groin), Mikael Samuelsson (groin)

Scratched: Patrick Eaves, Jakub Kindl

Lineup notes: Without skating in the morning, it’s tough to say exactly what Detroit coach Mike Babcock will do with his lineup against the Blackhawks. Ericsson will likely be a gametime decision because of hip and shoulder injuries that are healing up, but he’s expected to return to the lineup by media covering the team on a regular basis.

Lashoff has played pretty well with Kronwall while filling in during all of the injuries, so that makes Kindl the most likely candidate to be scratched against Chicago. Eaves could potentially find himself drawing into the lineup somewhere in the bottom-six forward group, while Helm (back) and Filppula (knee) continue to battle nagging injuries that could potentially take them out of action if they worsen.

BLACKHAWKS

Brandon SaadJonathan ToewsMarian Hossa

Patrick SharpDave BollandPatrick Kane

Bryan BickellAndrew ShawViktor Stalberg

Brandon BolligMarcus KrugerMichael Frolik

Duncan KeithBrent Seabrook

Johnny OduyaNiklas Hjalmarsson

Nick LeddyMichal Rozsival

Corey Crawford

Ray Emery

Injured: Daniel Carcillo (lower body); Steve Montador (concussion symptoms)

Scratched: Sheldon Brookbank, Jamal Mayers

Lineup notes: Chicago did not hold a morning skate after beating Columbus 3-2 on the road Saturday night. Brookbank played alongside Leddy and Mayers played right wing on the fourth line in place of Frolik. Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville may opt for the speedier Frolik against the Red Wings and could go back to Rozsival on the third defense pairing, after he’s played well in three games.

Quote of the Day

I'm just excited about the opportunity. I've been on the ice earlier than usual and in the weight room, pushing around a little more weights than usual. Every day I go into a workout with a smile on my face and ready to go. When you do have a little more responsibility, you want to take your lunch pail and get ready to work.

— Brian Elliott to Jeremy Rutherford of the Post-Dispatch on being the Blues' No. 1 goalie