Red Wings-Blachawks preview: Wings look to bounce back vs. winless Hawks, who have COVID lineup complications

The Detroit Red Wings dropped a 6-1 decision to the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday night, and their weekend gets no easier as they face the 0-4-and-1 Chicago Blackhawks on Sunday evening (7 PM EDT on Bally Sports Detroit/NBC Sports Chicago/Sportsnet One/NHL Network/97.1 FM).

Chicago may not have yet won a game over the course of the 2021-2022 season thus far, but they haven’t played since dropping a 4-1 decision to the Vancouver Canucks on Thursday, so they’ll be well-rested…

Though their personnel is in flux. The Blackhawks may or may not have Patrick Kane, Ryan Carpenter and Eric Gustafsson in their lineup on Sunday as all three were “placed in COVID protocol,” which is a fancy way of saying that, well, to spare you the legalese, they could:

  1. Have tested positive for COVID;
  2. Been in close contact with or contract traced back to someone who tested positive for COVID;
  3. Gotten an inconclusive test back;
  4. Or some other stuff that’s kind of complicated.

The Hawks recalled Reese Johnson from their AHL affiliate in Rockford just in case, but it’s entirely possible that Kane, Carpenter and Gustafsson might be in Chicago’s lineup tonight, as NBC Sports Chicago’s Charlie Roumeliotis noted:

COVID-19 protocol-related absences can be the result of a number of factors, including an initial positive test that remains unconfirmed, symptomatic individuals, high-risk close contact, or a confirmed positive test, among others.

“At this point, those guys are in the protocol and we don’t really know day to day how it’s going to develop,” head coach Jeremy Colliton said. “For the most part, it’s out of our control, so we’ll adjust as things develop here.”

Carpenter, Gustafsson and Kane each played in Thursday’s 4-1 loss to the Vancouver Canucks. Kane celebrated his 1,000th NHL game beforehand, waiting to do so in front of a sold-out United Center crowd.

In a corresponding move, the Blackhawks recalled forward Reese Johnson from the Rockford IceHogs of the American Hockey League. He skated on the fourth line with MacKenzie Entwistle and Jujhar Khaira; Philipp Kurashev rotated in and out as well.

The Blackhawks also shuffled the other three lines and are preparing as if they won’t have any of the three sidelined players on Sunday.

Kirby Dach, Alex DeBrincat and Brandon Hagel skated together on the first line, Tyler Johnson, Dominik Kubalik and Jonathan Toews made up the second line and Henrik Borgstrom, Adam Gaudette and Dylan Strome were together on the third line. Kubalik also took Kane’s spot on the first power-play unit.

The Hawks don’t want any sympathy given their situation, as coach Colliton told the Chicago Daily Herald’s John Dietz

“He’s a great player, but we line up with the guys that are available and it’s up to us to find a way to get it done,” Colliton said. “Overall the last two games, we’ve done a lot of good things that over time if you continue to do them you’ll be rewarded for them.

“We haven’t got paid off early. We’ve given up the first goal, which is always a headwind. If you add up the six periods, a lot more good than bad and we have to keep building on it.”

After facing the Red Wings, the Hawks host Toronto on Wednesday, play at Carolina on Friday and at St. Louis on Saturday.

The Chicago Sun-Times’ Brian Sandalow gave us a hint as to why the three players may have been absent…

All three played in the 4-1 loss to the Canucks on Thursday. Assistant coach Tomas Mitell, who missed the game because of the protocol, also was not at practice Saturday. Hawks coaches wore masks during the session, and media availability was held exclusively via Zoom.

Coach Jeremy Colliton said all three players are day-to-day and the team doesn’t know how the situation will develop. He declined to say whether the players are asymptomatic.

“For the most part, it’s out of our control,” Colliton said. “We’ll adjust as things develop here.”

And Alex DeBrincat sort of shrugged and suggested that the Hawks will get on with their jobs no matter what:

“It is what it is,” DeBrincat said. “I think it’s going to happen. For right now, we’re just going to try to follow the protocols and see what happens. I think we obviously don’t want many more guys going in there, so we’re going to follow what the doctors are saying and do what we can.”

The Hawks’ practice Saturday came after a well-timed day off Friday. DeBrincat said it was good to settle down, reflect and get away from the game a little bit.

“We’ve got to come out with energy tomorrow,” DeBrincat said. “We’ve got to get a win here soon and feel good about our game. I think we’ve played a lot better the past two games than the first couple. We’ve still got a ways to go, but it’s getting better and hopefully a win’s coming.”

If you wish to watch the Hawks-Canucks game’s highlights, you may most certainly do so…

But, absent much else to go on, we’ll take a look at’s Carter Baum’s Wings-Hawks preview instead:


The Blackhawks and Red Wings met eight times during the 2020-21 campaign with Chicago winning the season series with a 6-2-0 record. Chicago’s seven markers against Detroit on Feb. 28, 2021 were a season high with Alex DeBrincat recording a season-high four points (1G, 3A) in the victory. The Farmington Hills, Michigan native has a point in 11 of 14 career games against the Red Wings and his 20 points (8G, 12A) against Detroit  are his most against any NHL opponent.

Kevin Lankinen posted his first career NHL shutout on Feb. 17 in Detroit and went 4-1-0 with a .950 save percentage and a 1.60 goals-against average against the Red Wings last season.

Marc-Andre Fleury is 9-3-0 in his last 12 contests against the Red Wings. He helped the Pittsburgh Penguins defeat Detroit in the 2009 Stanley Cup Final.


The Blackhawks allowed their first power-play goal against of the season on Thursday against the Canucks. They are one of eight
teams who have allowed one PPG or fewer during the 2021-22 campaign. Their 92.9 percent penalty kill percentage is second in the league.

Chicago has recorded a power-play marker in four of five games during the 2021-22 campaign and are 10th in the league with a 28.7 percent powerplay percentage. The Blackhawks finished 11th in the National Hockey League with a 21.7% PP% during the 2020-21 season. They share second in the league with five PPG’s this year.

The Red Wings facing a nemesis with great goaltending and great special teams. Sounds familiar…

And the Wings probably won’t hold a morning skate today, but the Hawks certainly will, and we’ll find out what happens with Kane, Carpenter and Gustafsson then.

Published by

George Malik

My name is George Malik, and I'm the Malik Report's editor/blogger/poster. I have been blogging about the Red Wings since 2006, when MLive hired me to work their SlapShots blog, and I joined Kukla's Korner in 2011 as The Malik Report. I'm starting The Malik Report as a stand-alone site, hoping that having my readers fund the website is indeed the way to go to build a better community and create better content.

3 thoughts on “Red Wings-Blachawks preview: Wings look to bounce back vs. winless Hawks, who have COVID lineup complications”

  1. CBC says no, Kane at least will be on the 14 day, anyone surprised it is Patrick Kane? I am watching for this misinformation, excuse.. Will see?

      1. This is a common complaint in many aspects of our lives in today’s covid world. Even my own Doctor tells me something different that I saw on the local news.

        I know I am off topic but it really difficult for people that do not have have faculties to find correct information. I will certainly admit I get frustrated when getting bad info. Hockey is not the end of the World but more lives are at stake these days. Sloppy. say anything to make the news, knowingly express misleading info, etc.
        I would think your digging for sports news must make you growl. I prefer to being a pain in everyones *** but say for Aunt this has got to cause a feeling of being lost.
        Anyway, sad it is that way but it is a hot topic. I feel less secure with my knowledge of what is best for me.
        Hopefully something changes but, LOL, I don’t what it is.

        All this because of something about Patrick Kane.

        Have a Great and Safe Day!

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