Friday, April 8, 2011
Posted: 1:42 p.m.
By Tracey MyersCSNChicago.com
DETROIT Its rare when the Chicago Blackhawks and Detroit Red Wings need more incentive when they face each other. The matchup already demands a fairly bright spotlight, given their history, the divisional rivalry and the quality hockey that usually comes with the games.
But just for grins sake, lets throw in all the playoff implications, shall we?
The Blackhawks will be feeling the enormity of those when the puck drops at the United Center on Sunday morning. They need one point to guarantee a playoff spot and eliminate any chance the Dallas Stars had to catch them. Two points would be even better, and with help from others, the Blackhawks could finish higher in the standings.
Weve played a lot of big games this year, especially the last little stretch. So theres nothing new for us (Sunday), said Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford, who will be vying for his 34th victory this season. Its a lot better to be deciding your own fate than worrying about someone else. The Wings are not going to give us anything. We expect a hard game.
WATCH: Milbury previews NBC's Game of the Week - Blackhawks vs. Red Wings
It doesnt hurt that the Blackhawks have played the Red Wings very well this season. Their 4-1-0 against Detroit, and their 4-2 victory there on Friday was one of their best outings. But considering how angry the Red Wings were with Fridays loss, theyll probably come in determined.
We expect a dangerous team, with a lot of incentive on their side and ours. There is a lot of meaning in that game, coach Joel Quenneville said. We havent had an easy (game) all year and I dont expect it for one more.
Well, that and Detroit has its own reasons for finishing strong. Despite losing on Friday, the Red Wings are one point behind the second-place Sharks, who also lost on Friday. The Wings will be without Niklas Kronwall and Henrik Zetterberg but both are said to be a go for the postseason. Zetterberg was seen sporting a large brace on his left knee in Detroit on Friday.
Its just about having one more game and weve got to get ourselves ready, get the brain in gear and get playing, Mike Babcock told reporters on Friday. The good thing about the playoffs is its only long for two teams. For us, we can be done in a heck of a hurry. And the sense of urgency that weve got to have and the change in our mindset that weve got to have obviously is very apparent in just watching this game (Friday) night.
Its Game 82, and its status quo for the Blackhawks-Red Wings rivalry. Its going to be fierce. Its going to be competitive. And its going to be for marbles bigger than just one game.
We have to get points, Quenneville said. We have to control our destiny.
Tracey Myers is CSNChicago.com's Blackhawks Insider. Follow Tracey on Twitter @TramyersCSN for up-to-the-minute Hawks information.