Game 82: Status quo for Blackhawks-'Wings rivalry

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Game 82: Status quo for Blackhawks-'Wings rivalry

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.

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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.

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The Blackhawks’ starts have been all over the map this season but their finishes have usually been strong. That was the case again on Sunday night as the Blackhawks took a lead, lost a lead and regained a lead for good in their 4-2 victory over the Vancouver Canucks.

This one featured a little bit of everything. So let’s just get to the Five Things to take from the Blackhawks’ victory over Vancouver.

1. Jonathan Toews breaks through. If the Blackhawks captain’s confidence was a little shaken with his lack of scoring this season, it should’ve gotten a boost with his Sunday outing. Toews’ goal and three assists were as big for him as they were the Blackhawks, who needed every bit of it late against the Canucks. In his last 12 games Toews has three goals and eight assists. He’s getting there. Said coach Joel Quenneville, “it seems like he was around the puck way more and when he does that, usually good things happen.”

2. Great start. This hasn’t been written very often but it was more than evident on Sunday night. If this wasn’t the Blackhawks’ best opening period of the season it was pretty close, as they broke out to a 2-0 lead against the Canucks. The Blackhawks, outside of a 3 ½-minute sequence without a shot on goal, were tenacious and ready to shoot, taking an 18-9 shots-on-goal edge in that first.

3. Corey Crawford rebounds. Quenneville considered Scott Darling for this game, an understandable thought with Darling coming off a 30-stop shutout. But he wanted Crawford to get back to where he was prior to his appendectomy, and Crawford took a step in that direction on Sunday night. In stopping 25 of 27 shots Crawford got his 18th victory of the season and 200th of his career. Quenneville said Crawford “looked like he was in control.”

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4. Michal Kempny’s tough stretch. When Kempny has been good this season he’s been very good. When he’s been bad... The defenseman was in the penalty box when the Canucks scored their first goal and he was beaten by Bo Horvat on the Canucks’ second goal. Kempny didn’t play the final 14 minutes of the game. Quenneville, who liked what Kempny brought on the team’s road trip, said Kempny just has to work through some things. “Coverage with awareness and knowing sometimes it’s man coverage, sometimes it’s playing the puck and clearing the loose stuff,” Quenneville said. “Defenseman is a tough position as you’re growing and learning it, but the more you play the better you play and I still think he’s making progress.”

5. Brian Campbell gets to keep No. 500 this time. Campbell thought he had his 500th point against the Colorado Avalanche on Tuesday night but it was taken away. Well he got it back on Sunday night, setting up Richard Panik’s 11th goal of the season in the first period.