Update (6:14 PM): Okay, so this sucks: Helm is out, with a flared up back injury.
On the plus side, Brian Lashoff will stay in the lineup if Ericsson is good to go. Kindl’s time may be running out. I expect Lashoff will be watched closely tonight, though. - Matt
… This will be the first of just four meetings between the Wings and Blackhawks this season. I guess it was more important to get that extra game in against the Blue Jackets than against, you know, an all-time rival.
… The Hawks are off to a fast 5-0-0 start that includes a 3-2 win over the Blue Jackets last night. They last started undefeated after five back in 1971. A win tonight would set a team record.
… They’ve played on consecutive nights once already this season and put up six goals on night #2 on their way to outscoring opponents LA and Phoenix 11-6 on the road.
… Their 10 points leads the league, though San Jose is just two points back with a game in hand.
… Patrick Kane has 9 points already, which is more than he had over any other five-game span last season. That’s an 86 point pace.
… The Wings are just 2-2-0 and sit fourth in the Central. That’s just one point up on Columbus. You have to remind yourself that it’s early to avoid being too depressed about that.
… They played Friday and took out the Wild 5-3 in a bit of an offensive explosion you hope continues tonight against a Chicago team that hasn’t been super tight defensively (except on the PK, which is third at 94%*).
… It’s possible that Jonathan Ericsson will be back in the lineup tonight, which will bring the blueline close to full health. Just Ian White and his lacerated knee would be out in that case, unless you count Kyle “Crap Bag” Quincey as out with an injured hockey sense.
… An Ericsson return would likely mean Brian Lashoff’d be out. The Red Wings Way and all.
… Mikael Samuelsson (forgot about him, didn’t you?) and Jonas Gustavsson are out with groin injuries.
… The Wings showed they have it in them offensively to beat a highly-skilled team despite the defense being weaker than it’s been in forever. They’ll need something like the same kind of offensive output tonight.
*The Bruins and Islanders both are at 100% (!).