The Detroit Red Wings and the Chicago Blackhawks square off in Game 7 tonight, at the United Center in Chicago.
Detroit was unable to finish off the President Trophy winning Blackhawks in Game’s 5 and 6 after going up 3-1 early in the series. In Game’s 2 through 4 the Red Wings methodically went about their business. They stayed out of the penalty box while frustrating the Hawk’s top players. In Game 5 they might as well have stayed in Detroit because they did not look ready for what Chicago brought to the ice. The first two periods of Game 6 it looked like Detroit was going to get the job done. However a sloppy third period by their defense mixed with a questionable penalty shot led to a 4-3 loss and a Game 7 tonight.
Chicago has the advantage of playing on home ice where they are 4-1 in the playoffs. It will not be an easy task for the Red Wings to go into the United Center and steal this game, but anything can happen in a Game 7, just talk to the 2002 Avalanche. The Avs pushed the Red Wings to Game 7 but the Wings came out on fire and blew them out 7-0. (Watch HERE)
Detroit needs their stars to carry them tonight like they did in Round 1. Henrik Zetterberg had eight points vs. Anaheim but has only recorded three assists vs. Chicago. The Red Wings top line of Pavel Datsyuk, Justin Abdelkader and Johan Franzen have looked dangerous against Chicago but have not produced much. Datsyuk only has a goal and an assist.
The pressure will be on Corey Crawford and Jimmy Howard who have both been excellent in the series. Each of them have the ability to steal a game so their teams will be relying on them heavily.
Players to watch in Game 7:
Chicago Blackhawks – Bryan Bickell
He is not known as much of an offensive threat having recorded just 90 points in 220 career regular season games. However he is starting to make a name for himself in the playoffs right now having scored in each of the last two games. He now has five goals and one assist in 11 games this post-season. He is a big body who has been engaged in the physical side of this series. The Red Wings are having a tough time dealing with his size, which makes him dangerous in Game 7.
Detroit Red Wings – Johan Franzen
Franzen was once a scoring machine in the playoffs, but now he looks disinterested and slow. Zetterberg and Datsyuk are going to have a good game because most nights they do, so if they can get some offensive support from ‘The Mule’ they will have a good chance to win tonight.