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.
Johan Franzen – Henrik Zetterberg – Damien Brunner
Valtteri Filppula – Pavel Datsyuk – Todd Bertuzzi
Justin Abdelkader – Darren Helm – Danny Cleary
Drew Miller – Cory Emmerton – Jordin Tootoo
Niklas Kronwall – Brian Lashoff
Brendan Smith – Jonathan Ericsson
Kyle Quincey – Kent Huskins
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.
Brandon Saad – Jonathan Toews – Marian Hossa
Patrick Sharp – Dave Bolland – Patrick Kane
Bryan Bickell – Andrew Shaw – Viktor Stalberg
Brandon Bollig – Marcus Kruger– Michael Frolik
Duncan Keith – Brent Seabrook
Johnny Oduya – Niklas Hjalmarsson
Nick Leddy – Michal Rozsival
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.