Blackhawks look to maintain mastery of Red Wings

Blackhawks

The Chicago Blackhawks will shoot for their third win in a row when they host the Detroit Red Wings on Saturday night in the first game of a back-to-back set. (Blackhawks vs. Detroit, Saturday, February 27, 6:30pm, WGN Radio 720 and our digital streams https://wgnradio.com/on-air/.)

Chicago is coming off a pair of road wins against the Columbus Blue Jackets earlier in the week. The Blackhawks posted a 6-5 shootout victory on Tuesday, then added a 2-0 win on Thursday.

Strong goaltending has been a key to the Blackhawks’ success this season. Rookie Kevin Lankinen has produced an 8-3-3 record to go along with a 2.59 goals-against average and a .921 save percentage, and Malcolm Subban has shined as a backup by going 3-1-1 with a 2.13 GAA and a .930 save percentage.

Blackhawks coach Jeremy Colliton praised both players after the latest win, in which Subban stopped all 26 shots he faced to record the second shutout of his career.

“We’ve got to say we’re pleasantly surprised,” Colliton said. “They’ve both been very good. They’ve given us a chance to win every night. That’s what you hope for when you give young guys opportunity: You hope they’re going to seize it and take advantage of it, and that’s what they’re doing.”

Chicago’s top players on offense are much less of a surprise. Patrick Kane leads the way with 31 points (10 goals, 21 assists), while Alex DeBrincat ranks second with 20 points (nine, 11) and Dominik Kubalik is third with 16 points (six, 10).

As for the Red Wings, they are looking to post back-to-back wins for the first time this season. Detroit won only four of its first 19 games but has recorded two victories in its past three contests.

In its most recent game, Detroit pulled away for a 5-2 win over the Nashville Predators on Thursday. Sam Gagner notched a hat trick in the victory while Luke Glendening and Adam Erne had one goal apiece.

Jonathan Bernier stopped 37 of 39 shots to earn the victory.

“We see where we are in the standings, which is frustrating, but a win like this can help the confidence and get us moving forward, hopefully,” Glendening said. “We played OK last game, our special teams wasn’t up to snuff. We let one in early on the (penalty kill on Thursday) but battled back.

“That’s what this team has to continue to do, show up and work hard and keep battling every night.”

Bobby Ryan will look to stay involved after assisting on Gagner’s first two goals on Thursday. The veteran has five goals and six assists in 21 games during his first season with Detroit.

“I think Bobby has been around it, he’s been creating a lot,” Gagner said.

The Saturday matchup will be the fifth of the season between the teams. Chicago owns a perfect 4-0-0 record in the season series, including two wins at home and two on the road.

In the most recent matchups earlier this month, both in Detroit, Chicago earned a 3-2 overtime victory on Feb. 15 and a 2-0 win on Feb. 17. Lankinen stopped all 29 shots he faced to earn the shutout.

–Field Level Media

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