Important week looming for Red Wings

With four games between now and next Monday, the Red Wings will have the opportunity to pick up a quality number of points in those four games. This is a great chance to "right the ship" and begin rolling before the Olympic break.

Tuesday, at New York Islanders
The Islanders are on pace for a much better year than last year and a big part of it starts in net. The Isles have three quality goalies with Dwayne Roloson, Martin Biron, and that Rick DiPietro guy. Add in great young talent like that of John Tavares and Kyle Okposo and the Islanders have a pretty good young core to build around. They're keeping pace with the Flyers and not far behind the Rangers in the very competitive Atlantic Division. Jimmy Howard is slated to start the game and will likely be opposite Rick DiPietro so it should be a pretty good game in net to watch. The big question whether or not the Wings can win this one though is if they come out strong or flat. You've got to think they'll come out strong with the way they've played and won lately but this could be a game that trips them up.

Thursday, Carolina Hurricanes

Carolina has dropped off considerably from their performance last year. After getting to the Eastern Conference Finals last year (and promptly being brushed aside in 4 games by the Penguins) the Hurricanes are the worst team in the NHL right now. 33 points (only 13 wins) has pretty much left this team already planning vacations. It started ugly early and got worse when Cam Ward missed considerable time with a cut to his quad from Rick Nash's skate. The Canes struggled after that when Manny Legace (yes, that Manny Legace) was brought in to fill the spot. Plain and simple the offense hasn't been there either as they have the fewest goals for this season. This is another one that the Red Wings should win with too much going wrong in Raleigh and a lot starting to go right in Motown--such as the expected return of Jonathan Ericsson.

Saturday, at Dallas Stars
Dallas started off strong too but has been cooled off by way of playing in a tough Pacific division. The Stars are a tough team to figure out because they have some of the best players in the game like Brad Richards, Mike Modano, Marty Turco, and Mike Ribiero but have struggled for whatever reason. This is a hard game to predict because I think there's a good chance the Wings overlook the stars in anticipation of the next day's game against the Blackhawks.The only two things that I'm guessing will happen is: 1.) Brad May and Krys Barch will have another staged fight and 2.) Chris Osgood will start in Dallas in order to give Jimmy Howard rest for Chicago.

Sunday, Chicago Blackhawks
This is the big one of the week.  NBC's day game and the Red Wings need to pick up some points within the division. Chicago's taken the last two after the Wings took the opener and the series could be evened up by Sunday evening. It's hard to really stress the importance of this game and the guys in both locker rooms know what it means. A Detroit win could be a huge shot of confidence, especially if the three prior games are W's. I think this will be one heck of a game and the Red Wings will have a good number of their players back in the line-up so the injuries excuse won't cut it anymore. The Blackhawks will show up to play and the Wings have to show and then some to take down this powerful Chicago team. Marian Hossa is finding his stride in Chicago and the rest of the team is working well around him. This is shaping up to be one of the two biggest games before the Olympic break (the Penguins on 31st--also on NBC) and the Wings will do everything they can to come out on top.

I expect three wins in the four games but we also want to get your thoughts on the games this week. Which games will the Wings win, what match-ups are you looking forward to the most, what's the biggest game in your mind, etc.

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