Five Things to Watch: Blackhawks make final stop at Joe Louis Arena tonight on CSN

Five Things to Watch: Blackhawks make final stop at Joe Louis Arena tonight on CSN

Watch as the Blackhawks take on the Detroit Red Wings tonight on CSN and streaming live on Coverage begins at 6 p.m. with Blackhawks Pregame Live. Then stick around after the final buzzer to watch Blackhawks Postgame Live for highlights and analysis.

Click here to watch the game or download the NBC Sports App, your home for live streaming coverage of the Blackhawks.

Five Things to Watch:

1. Last stop at The Joe.

For one last time, Chicago and Detroit will rekindle its rivalry at Joe Louis Arena, which has been the Red Wings home since 1979. The team will move into the new Little Caesars Arena next season. Notable games between the two at The Joe include Game 5 of the Western Conference Final in 2009 that eliminated the up and coming Blackhawks from the postseason. They would get revenge in 2013 by rallying from a 3-1 series deficit to beat Detroit in its building in Game 6, and then closing the deal at home in Game 7 en route to a Stanley Cup. 

2. Pair of 2014 first-round picks square off.

For the first time in their young NHL careers, Dylan Larkin and Nick Schmaltz will go head-to-head in a battle of 2014 first-round selections. Larkin was drafted at No. 15, five picks before the Blackhawks took Schmaltz at No. 20. Larkin made his debut a year before Schmaltz, and was among the league's best rookies in 2016 when he compiled 45 points in 80 games, but has struggled during his sophomore campaign — as has his entire team — with 22 points in 63 games. Schmaltz enters with 19 points in 44 games this year, with 12 of those points coming in his last 10 games.

3. Another back-to-back for Corey Crawford? 

Before this month, the last time Crawford had started in two games in as many days was Dec. 19-20 in 2015. Now he'll do it twice in a week. He did just fine in the second of a back-to-back last Saturday, stopping 32 of 35 shots in a 5-3 win over Nashville. And coming off a four-day break before Thursday's game, Crawford should be well-rested to handle another start less than 24 hours later.

4. Win at the dot.

In Thursday's 1-0 loss to Anaheim, the Blackhawks won only 41 percent of their faceoffs against the No. 1-ranked team at the dot. Tonight, they'll play a Red Wings club that's just as good as the Ducks in that area. They're the fourth-best team at the faceoff circle, winning 52.4 percent of their draws this season, led by Frans Nielsen, who owns a 54.7 percentage. The Blackhawks rank 23rd with a 48.4 percentage, led by Jonathan Toews, who's at 56.9 percent.

5. Score first.

The Red Wings have scored the game's first goal in only 26 of their 65 games this season, the third-fewest total in the league. They've also given up 71 goals in the opening frame; only Colorado (73) has allowed more. That's not very good company. The Blackhawks have the third-most wins when scoring the first goal of the game with 30. That'd be a good way to get back on track after getting blanked by the Ducks last night.

- Check out the latest stats and standings to make sure you’re ready for action

- Channel Finder: Make sure you know where to watch

- NBC Sports App FAQ: All your questions answered

- Latest on the Blackhawks: All of the most recent news and notes

- See what Blackhawks fans are talking about before, during and after the game with Blackhawks Pulse

How Blackhawks are trying to stay positive despite postseason-high 12 iron shots 

How Blackhawks are trying to stay positive despite postseason-high 12 iron shots 

Goal posts apparently aren't kind to the city of Chicago in the playoffs. (Nobody needs a reminder of the double-doink).

So if you hear a ringing sound, you’re not alone. 

The Blackhawks are six games into their postseason run and have hit 12 iron shots so far — 10 off the post, two off the crossbar. Twelve! That’s an average of two per game and a pace of 164 across an 82-game season. For reference, they hit the iron 58 times — 48 off the post, 10 off the crossbar — in 70 games during the regular season.

No team has hit more iron than the Blackhawks (12) since the NHL's 24-team Return to Play tournament started and it's not even close. The next highest? Toronto at six. An incredible gap.

"It's always tough hitting the post," said Drake Caggiula, who's hit one crossbar this postseason. "You’re close to scoring a goal but that’s hockey. It’s all about bounces. Sometimes you get them, sometimes you don’t, you've just got to stick with it. It's just something where you've got to keep shooting the puck and trust that you're going to get your chances and make sure that you try and capitalize. But hitting the post is never a fun feeling unless it's going in the net. We've just got to make sure it doesn’t discourage us."

Here's a list of where each team sits when it comes to iron shots, through Thursday's games:

  • 12: Blackhawks
  • 6: Toronto
  • 5: Boston
  • 4: Calgary, Colorado, Columbus, Montreal, N.Y. Rangers, Vegas
  • 3: Florida, N.Y. Islanders, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh
  • 2: Carolina, Dallas, Edmonton, Nashville, Tampa Bay, Washington, Winnipeg
  • 1: Vancouver
  • 0: Arizona, Minnesota, St. Louis

The Blackhawks hit five posts in Game 3 against the Edmonton Oilers, but it was easier to swallow because it came in a win. It wasn't so easy in a Game 2 overtime loss to the Vegas Golden Knights on Thursday.

Patrick Kane, who leads all skaters this postseason with three shots off the post, hit another one with 43 seconds left in the first period on Thursday when the Blackhawks were trailing 2-0. He beat Robin Lehner five-hole, but the puck rang off the pipe and bounced out. 

You could see the frustration in his face:

The Blackhawks did, however, get a nice break on Dominik Kubalik's power-play goal that tied the game at 2-2. His shot went off the inside of the post and in.

But the one that kept Chicago awake is the crossbar shot in overtime. 

Just 1:53 into extra time, Dylan Strome fired a 35-foot wrist shot from the right faceoff circle and rang it off the bottom part of the crossbar. He lifted his hands in the air thinking it was a goal. It was centimeters away from going bar down but bounced out instead.

The Blackhawks are certainly getting their chances. It's challenging to stick with it when the puck luck isn't going your way, but you have to earn your bounces and the Blackhawks must keep pushing through. That's the message.

"We've had our chances," head coach Jeremy Colliton said. "Sometimes it's like that. The key is, how long can we stick with it? How long can we be persistent when we face adversity? We've faced some adversity here over the first couple games. Do we have the character to overcome it? It's an opportunity for our guys.

"You play all year to be in these games, so now we're here and we've faced some adversity. So what? Just keep playing and believe in what we're doing and believe in the guys in the room and we're going to give them a run."

Click to download the MyTeams App for the latest Blackhawks news and analysis.

Former Blackhawks goalie Robin Lehner remains unbeaten with Vegas Golden Knights

Former Blackhawks goalie Robin Lehner remains unbeaten with Vegas Golden Knights

On Thursday in Game 2, the Blackhawks tested Robin Lehner more than they did in Game 1 of the first round Stanley Cup Playoff series, when he only had to save 19 of 20 shots.

The Hawks were able to put 25 pucks on the Golden Knights' net, with three getting past Lehner to take the game to overtime where Vegas would triumph to take a 2-0 series lead.

"It was a little bit of a weird game," Lehner said following his Game 2 win. "There was not that much to do and I thought they had some good chances. I thought that Chicago played really well. Everyone keeps saying they're (the) underdog, but you look at their team: the experience, the skill... it's Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane out there. It's a lot of skill and they're world class players, so when they get opportunities it's hard. I got to look at the tape, I think I can be a little bit better, but a win's a win."

Related: Former Blackhawks goalie Robin Lehner's birthday cake is ureal

With the victory, Lehner remains unbeaten in the 2020 postseason (4-0) and unbeaten as a Golden Knight. 

The 29-year-old netminder went 3-0-0 with 1.67 goals-against average and .940 save percentage with the Knights during the regular season ahead of the NHL Pause due to the COVID-19 pandemic on March 12. 

Related: Robin Lehner opens up on getting traded by Blackhawks

Lehner was traded from Chicago to Vegas ahead of Feb. 24's trade deadline. He was 16-10-5 as a Hawk this season with a 3.01 goals-against average and a .918 save percentage prior to the move.

Vegas goalie Marc-Andre Fleury, a three-time Stanley Cup champ with the Pittsburgh Penguins, may have lost the starter job to Lehner, at least for now. Fleury was only in net for one Golden Knights' round-robin game, with Lehner starting the rest of the postseason contests so far.

Click to download the MyTeams App for the latest Blackhawks news and analysis.