For the first of two matchups this season, the Red Wings and Blackhawks will faceoff at the United Center tonight. Detroit is coming off a loss in Dallas to open up 2020. Not the result the players wanted to put together for the opening game of the mothers trip. They’ll look to bounce back with a win against the rival Blackhawks, and head back to Detroit to kick off a three game home-stand.

Chicago is currently 18-18-6 and sit last in the Central Division.

Projected Lines

Detroit Red Wings

With the team traveling from Dallas to Chicago, as of now we don’t have updated practice lines. However, changes to anticipate include Brendan Perlini. Perlini was acquired from the Blackhawks earlier in the season by way of trade. Getting the opportunity to play his former team will be a fun experience for him. Perlini was a healthy scratch against Dallas.

Goaltender wise, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Jonathan Bernier get the starting nod. Despite giving up three goals on Friday he has played very well the past few weeks. He’s slowing becoming 1A of the goaltending tandem with Jimmy Howard.

Chicago Blackhawks

The wildcard of the lineup is the third line. Alex DeBrincat potted 40 goals last season, and while the numbers have come as easy this year, he still owns a lethal shot. Kirby Dach in the middle is the team’s blue-chip prospect. Dach went third overall in last Summer’s draft and has had a fine, but inconsistent rookie year as an 18-year-old.

Missing in action is Brent Seabrook and Calvin de Haan. The two blue-liners are out for the season with injury. In turn, this Blackhawks defense is a bit of patch work. 19-year-old Adam Boqvist is set to play on the top-pair.

Three Thoughts

1.) Hronek’s workload

Friday in Dallas Hronek got a light night, for his standards — 23:14 TOI. The two previous games he eclipsed the 27-minute mark. Playing both powerplay and penalty-kill, as well as a ton at even strength will rack up the minutes. He’s officially become the team horse, and he’ll be relied upon heavily tonight.

Expect Hronek and defense partner Patrik Nemeth to match up with the Patrick Kane line for most of the night. The former Hart Trophy winner has produced 24 goals and 53 points in 42 games.

2.) Revisiting the Perlini trade

Ever since Steve Yzerman went out and acquired Perlini from Chicago on Oct. 28, there hasn’t been much immediate success. While the eye test will tell you his stat-line isn’t indicative of his play, two assists in 24 games isn’t great. The addition of Robby Fabbri later on didn’t help his fortunes either, bumping him down the depth chart. In turn, he’s struggled to break into the lineup.

The Blackhawks received prospect Alec Regula in return. In 32 games with the London Knights, Regula has posted 11 goals and 27 points. The American defenseman also just missed the cut for Team USA’s World Junior roster.

3.) Seabrook, de Haan out for the season

Last week news broke that both Seabrook and de Haan are done for the season. Seabrook will be undergoing multiple surgeries and could possibly be done in the NHL, with speculation being he’ll be LTIRetired. A sad end to a career that contributed to three Stanley Cup championships.

The loss of de Haan might be even more major. The 28-year-old is strong analytically and his absence will be hard felt.