Morning Skate: Battle of the best in the West

The Red Wings squeaked out a shootout win over the Flames last night and got two undeserved points. But points are points and the Wings left Calgary with two of them, instead of one. Vancouver played last night as well and dispatched the Oilers 6-1 thanks to a Ryan Kesler hat trick. The Canucks now sit two points ahead of the Wings (with one fewer game played) and tonight's game will be a tough one for the Wings without the services of a handful of players.

When these two teams last met, former Red Wing Mikael Samuelsson got all trippy which resulted in a broken wrist for Pavel Datsyuk. The Wings won that game but lost Datsyuk. Hopefully they win tonight without an injury, which has become a theme of late it seems. As for Samuelsson, he should take the advice that he gave to Team Sweden and apply it to himself.

Nucks Misconduct is the SB Nation source for Canucks coverage.

Form and more after the jump...

Sorry this is rather succinct, folks. Long night with quick turnaround. 

  • Chris Osgood will start in net against the Canucks. Osgood has played pretty well of late but will have to be completely on his game tonight against the Canucks. The defense in front of him will have to be strong too to shut down the excellent passing game of Vancouver. 
  • Brad Stuart will be out "indefinitely" with a broken jaw. As of the time I'm posting this, no word on Tom Kostopoulos and a possible suspension. He definitely should receive a suspension, it's just a question of how many games at this point.
  • As Larry Murphy pointed out in one of his "holy crap he made a good and coherent point" moments, Daniel Sedin and Ryan Kesler are the top goal scorers on this team by far--Daniel with 24 goals and Kesler with 23--and are the offensive leaders. That's not to say the rest of the team can't score but those are the two biggest threats (along with Henrik Sedin's 44 assists) and the Wings have to do a good job on them defensively tonight. 
  • Seeing how my paging of Olympic version of Brian Rafalski worked out, now I'm paging Jakub Kindl. Kindl, go curly my friend.                (hey, I can dream right?) 
  • The Canucks rested Roberto Luongo last night in anticipation of tonight's game. The Wings need to get him moving and giving up those trademark rebounds to guys like Holmstrom, Helm and Abdelkader to clean up. 
  • Score Prediction: 5-3 Vancouver. I think the back-to-back games and without Brad Stuart on defense, this could be ugly for the Wings. Vancouver's playing great right now but hopefully the Wings surprise me with a win.
  • Player of the Game Prediction: Patrick Eaves. Eaves is heating up more than many expected and working his way to a new contract.
  • For discussion: Of the injuries the Wings have sustained so far, which is the most significant. I have Datsyuk at #1 and Stuart at a close #2.

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