Morning Skate: The worst type of bus, Columbus

Pirate Rick Nash made a rare appearance when I was at the Joe.

JJ's going to kick my ass at H2H2 for that title. Hey, did someone mention H2H2? Why yes! Yes they did!

Back to business, the Wings are coming off a 7-5 win in Ottawa. Johan Franzen scored a Johatrick (5 goals) in the game and goals from Kris Draper and Niklas Kronwall helped the Wings outscore the Senators. The Wings left the defensive play back in Detroit it seems so perhaps it's there for tonight's game against the Blue Jackets.

In their last game, the Blue Jackets lost to the Blackhawks by a score of 7-4. The Blue Jackets went 3-6-1 in the month of January but two of the wins were in overtime/shootout. Overall, they sit next to last in the Western Conference with 51 points so this is another team that the Red Wings need to get the points that they should. But, that being said, they can't overlook them in anticipation of Saturday night's tilt for their closest challenger in the Central Division, Nashville. This game has Ackbar written all over it so the Red Wings will need to play more sound defensively than they did against Ottawa.

The Cannon is your SB Nation Blue Jackets' source.

More after the jump and the prediction form.

  • Jimmy Howard will start in net again tonight for the Wings. Jimmy had a rough outing against the lowly Senators, allowing five goals on 34 shots. As a lot of us have discussed, he was hung out to dry on a lot of those goals but after a while he's gotta start making some saves too. His GAA has ballooned from 2.26 last year to 2.81 this year. What do you guys think, has the defense played worse in front of him this year or has he been more inconsistent than he was last year?
  • How much of a beast was Johan Franzen? That was the Mule that we all know can be dominant when given the space and opportunities that he was in Ottawa. Like I said right before the game in the game thread, I really like the idea of Hank and Bert on a line with Franzen. Bertuzzi clears some space out for him and Hank can set up great passes like he did on Franzen's second goal. Plus, on the times that Franzen lags defensively, Hank and Bert are backchecking to make up for it.
  • Hank probably had one of the quieter 3 A nights you'll hear ever hear of. But like with Todd Bertuzzi's G 4 A performance against the Sharks, it's easy to get overshadowed by the power of the Muletrick. Great game from Hank and there's no question as to who has stepped up since Pavel went down.
  • Speaking of Pavel Datsyuk, he and Tomas Holmstrom will not see the ice tonight it looks like and that probably applies for Saturday's contest too, says mlive.com's Ansar Khan. Good I say, get them fully healed and ready to go, not 85% or so. We want 100% dangles and deflections.
  • Also in that article you'll see that Mike Modano is getting closer and closer to being healthy. Giggity.
  • Not that you needed to ask, but Rick Nash leads the Blue Jackets in goals with 23 and points with 44.
  • Hehehe, Mike Commodore.
  • Jakub Kindl has had a few good in a row for the Wings, hopefully this is the sign that he's turning the figurative page in the book of learnification.
  • Player to watch: Matt Calvert. That kid's going to be very, very good one day. Still needs to learn a lot but has a tremendous upside and may be that counterpart for Rick Nash that everyone always plugs for.
  • Score Prediction: 5-1 Detroit. I think the Wings carry that offensive high from Ottawa into tonight's game in front of the home crowd.
  • Player of the Game Prediction: Screw it, I'm doing it again. Jan Mursak.
  • Around the League: Boston topped Dallas 6-3 with the help of 4 first period goals, the Devils won again and are 8-1-1 in their last 10 after beating the Rangers 3-2, the Flames are another team that is 8-1-1 in their last 10 after beating the Thrashers 4-2, the Flyers beat the Predators 3-2 and the Maple Leafs blanked the Canes 3-0. At the time I'm writing this, the Wild are up 3-2 on the Avs but do you really care? Good, me neither. 

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