After an exciting, and at some moments horrible, outing against the Flames on Sunday, the Wings head to Atlanta to take on their first Eastern Conference opponent of the year. That's right friends, the Wings have done some major damage and picked up all of their points against Western Conference teams, now it's time to start bullying the East.
Atlanta's line-up features four members of the 2009-2010 Chicago Blackhawks team that won the Stanley Cup. As those familiar with the Chicago cap situation expected, the Blackhawks had to dump some major salary to accommodate Marian Hossa (now complete with Tomas Kopecky sidekick!). As a result, Ben Eager, Andrew Ladd, Dustin Byfuglien and Brent Sopel all ended up wearing baby blue jerseys this year and playing for a team that still has a lot of building to do in order to catch up with the Washington Capitals and now the Tampa Bay Lightning.
These four former Blackhawks have had a big impact on the team though so far as Byfuglien and Ladd lead the team in points. Detroit has a lot of familiarity with these four and Ladd has scored some big goals against the Wings while in Chicago.
More after the jump
- I'm starting with this link because I can't let it go unseen
- Also, yes, I do know that it's not supposed to be a tornado bird but rather the state bird of Georgia
Jimmy Howard will start in net again for Detroit. Jimmy's had a bit of a rough go of it lately, allowing 3+ goals in the last three games. Tonight, he faces an Atlanta team that has a fairly even scoring distribution.
- HOWEVER, Atlanta allows more shots than they take. With Detroit's propensity to fire on net often combined with their blueliners, Jimmy might have a good night.
Interesting stat: Washington, Carolina, Tampa Bay and Atlanta are the 4,5,6,7th place teams (respectively) in the NHL in goals per game. All four of those are Southeast division members. The fifth member of the division, the Florida Panthers, is the only team that is in the better half of the league in goals against per game. Odd how that works, isn't it?
- Dustin Byfuglien has switched full-time to defense. He played some at that position in Chicago but was called on primarily to be a forward there. Of course, now that he's on defense and is producing some points, he'll be a lock for the Norris Trophy, according to the Mike Green logic.
- Good to see Ondrej Pavelec back in net. As you may recall, Pavelec collapsed in the season opener for the Thrashers. With hardly any insight as to what happened, it was a scary moment for fans around the league to see that happen. Pavelec was out until October 30, when he returned and lost four straight games. Recently, Pavelec has picked up two wins--including a shutout of the Capitals.
- The Thrashers have Patrice "Flying Olecranon" Cormier after the deal that sent Ilya Kovalchuk to New Jersey. Other Devils that went down to Georgia: Niclas Bergfors, Johnny Oduya, Charlie Daniels.
Despite the Thrashers losing some lopsided games, Pavelec's GAA is a healthy 1.93. He's played some partial games and that's why the team GAA doesn't match up for those games. Last year Pavelec stopped 40 Red Wings' shots on the way to a shutout.
- Holy crap, Nik Antropov is 6'6", 240 lbs? For some reason, I've never noticed how big he is. He's one of 12 Thrashers over 6'2" and one of 8 over 210 lbs. By comparison, Detroit has 7 players at 6'2" or more and 6 over 210 lbs. Despite all that size, they are the fourth least hittingest (?) team in the league.
Evander Kane was born in 1991. Nicklas Lidstrom was making his NHL debut in 1991. Lidstrom has been in the NHL for as many years as Kane has been alive.
Atlanta Thrashers Injuries
Thrasher to watch: Dustin Byfuglien? Just to see what different weights they give him during the game. I'm interested to watch Anthony Stewart (whenever the hell I actually get to watch the game). Stewart's put up 5 goals and 6 assists this season and I've watched him the Thrashers play a few times this season (don't ask why because I honesty don't know) and his name kept popping up.
Score Prediction: 2-1 Detroit. For some reason, I get that feeling that we'll do that thing we do where we overlook an opponent and we will struggle with the Thrashers. I hope the fellas prove me wrong though.
- Player of the game prediction: Dan Cleary, that jerk hasn't score in two games! Of course, this is assuming he plays.
- Finally, I leave you with the moment that solidified Evander Kane's spot among his fellow NHLers: