Ever since the Detroit Red Wings moved to the Eastern Conference years ago, the historic rivalry between Detroit and fellow Original Six members the Chicago Blackhawks has been slowed down. However, in 2021 the two teams find themselves back in the same division for the first time since 2013. Friday night is set to be the 740th all-time meeting between Detroit and Chicago, according to hockey-reference.com. Let’s take a look at the rivalry’s history then preview what to expect when the puck drops on Friday.
Detroit and Chicago first met in 1926, the same year both franchises were founded. Based on geography alone, the Motor City and Windy City find themselves as rivals in pretty much anything. With both teams being Original Six members and some of the most decorated clubs in NHL history, the bad blood between the cities comes to the surface most on the ice.
As previously mentioned, Friday night is the 740th game between the Wings and Blackhawks. Detroit has a record of 369-271-84-15 all-time against Chicago. Back in the days of the Original Six, the teams met twice in the Stanley Cup Finals. Those meetings came in 1934 and 1961, with Chicago winning both.
After the end of the Original Six era, the rivalry remained strong as Detroit and Chicago were often in the same conference and division. The Wings took down the Hawks in both the 1995 and 2009 Western Conference Finals. However, once it was announced that Detroit would be moving to the East for the 2013-14 season, the rivalry was bound to lose some of its edge. Despite that, the Blackhawks managed to give the Wings a bittersweet sendoff from the West in the second round of the 2013 playoffs (a moment which still haunts me to this day).
When the NHL announced the re-aligned divisions for 2021, there was excitement at the fact that Detroit and Chicago would be back as division rivals. The clubs now have eight scheduled meetings for the 2021 season, with the first two coming this weekend. However, the renewal of the rival could be more fun if both teams weren’t going through phases of rebuilding.
Through four games so far, the Red Wings are 2-2 and the Hawks 0-3-1. When the two teams meet for the first time Friday, Detroit will still have to deal with Patrick Kane, Chicago’s current team points leader. The Wings have some studs of their own, though. New captain Dylan Larkin and free-agent signing Bobby Ryan are both off to hot starts.
The Blackhawks are currently dead last in the league with a 5.00 goals allowed per game. However, the teams are tied both averaging 2.25 goals scored per game. They may not be fighting for supremacy in the NHL anymore, but it’s always bound to be exciting when the Wings and Hawks faceoff. Puckdrop is scheduled for 8:00pm EST on Friday night. Game two of the weekend series is set for 12:30pm EST on Sunday.