Game Preview: Blackhawks vs. Red Wings
Throughout the 2011 preseason, chicagoblackhawks.com will preview each game with players to watch, notes and more.
The Blackhawks complete their back-to-back preseason series against Detroit.
TIME: 7:30 p.m. CT
VENUE: United Center
Comcast SportsNet / WGNRadio.com
Three Stars (Players to watch):
Corey Crawford: Goaltender Crawford gets his second start of the preseason Wednesday. "Crow" turned in a solid performance in his last game, a 3-2 win against Washington where he turned away 24 of 26 shots. If he can follow that game up with another nice showing, it could give the Blackhawks and their No. 1 goaltender a little added confidence as the regular season draws near.
Patrick Kane: Coming off summer wrist surgery, Head Coach Joel Quenneville said Tuesday that he expects Kane back in the lineup. An extra wrinkle, however, is that Kane may line up at center, a position he hasn't played in earnest since the preseason of his rookie year. Kane spent the offseason getting stronger and building muscle, and that increased size will be a big asset if the move to center becomes more than just a tryout.
Marian Hossa: Another Blackhawk making his preseason debut is Hossa, who joined camp late due to the memorial service for longtime friend Pavol Demitra and the birth of his daughter. With three consecutive Stanley Cup Finals appearances prior to last season, Hossa has played nearly 100 extra games in the past four seasons, and the added rest and recuperation this summer could play dividends when the grind of the regular season begins.
Rising Star (Must-watch prospect): Though the Blackhawks' roster for Wednesday has not been announced, it is possible that either Brandon Saad or Brandon Pirri could be on the ice against the Red Wings. With the roster down to 31 players, not many prospects remain on the Blackhawks' roster, but of those who remain, both Pirri and Saad have made impressive appearances. Saad, a 2011 second-round pick, was named first star of the game last Friday, scoring the game-winning goal and adding an assist in the win against Washington. Meanwhile, Pirri, a 2009 selection, recorded three points in Detroit Sunday. Though neither is assured a roster spot, both have given Blackhawks fans reasons for excitement in upcoming years at the very least.
Know the enemy (Opponent Report): The Red Wings participated in an intra-squad scrimmage in Grand Rapids, Mich., on Tuesday, and their roster for tonight's game is to be announced. Detroit is 2-2-0 on the preseason.
Fun Fact: The Blackhawks have not lost a home preseason game since Sept. 19, 2009, a 3-2 overtime loss to Washington.