Morning Skate: It's a Party and Everyone is Invited (except Samuelsson)!

February 6.

A very important day on the calendar every year. Why you might ask? Well...today is my birthday. A great day for the world overall, but not the greatest day for the Red Wings.

Let's go back 24 years to the day.

February 6, 1988.

The day of my birth the Red Wings defeated the Montreal Canadiens 5-4. The greatest Red Wing of all-time Steve Yzerman recorded a hat trick in that game. Petr Kilma had 3 assists. Adam Oates had 2 assists. Glen Hanlon was in net with 34 saves. Pretty damn cool to know that a mere hours after being born my favorite hockey player of all-time (sorry Brendan Smith) scored a hat trick.

Including that 5-4 win, the Red Wings are 4-4-0-0 all-time on my birthday. However, they haven't had the best luck recently. They are 0-2 in their last two games on this great day.

The last time Detroit played on February 6 was in 2010. They lost 4-3 to the Los Angeles Kings. I try to forget this game. The Wings led 3-0 after the 1st period and I thought I had a nice gift on my hands. By the end of the 2nd, it was 3-3 and, with just over two minutes left in the game, L.A. scored to take the lead and win it. No one of the better birthday memories.

Before that, the Wings dropped a 1-0 game to the Avalanche in 2003. Curtis Joesph was in net for the game and Alex Tanguay scored the only goal. You have to go all the way back to 2002 for the last Wings victory on my birthday. It was a 3-1 win for the good guys over the Rangers. Kris Draper, Brent Gilchrist, and Sergei Fedorov scored for the Wings and Petr Nedved scored for New York.

The good news? For my birthday I got two tickets to see the Wings take on the Rangers at MSG in March. That's got to be a good sign right? It won't be an easy game tonight. Still no Jimmy. Still a slumping Mule. Plus a Coyotes team coming off a nice win over the Sharks. If the Wings play like they did in the first two periods against the Oilers, well than let's just make their record on my birthday 4-5-0-0 before they even drop the puck.

All I want for my birthday is two more points. Let's hope Babcock and company can deliver that gift.

*

Five For Howling is your SBNation Coyotes' blog.

Puck drop is just after 8p ET on NBC Sports Network

The Expected Lineup

*

Johan Franzen -- Pavel Datsyuk -- Todd Bertuzzi

Valtteri Filppula -- Henrik Zetterberg -- Jiri Hudler

Danny Cleary -- Darren Helm -- Drew Miller

Jan Mursak -- Justin Abdelkader -- Tomas Holmstrom

*

Nicklas Lidstrom -- Ian White

Niklas Kronwall -- Brad Stuart

Jonathan Ericsson -- Mike Commodore

*

Joey MacDonald

Ty Conklin

Scratches: Cory Emmerton and Jakub Kindl

Injuries: Patrick Eaves (jaw) and Jimmy Howard (finger)

RED WINGS HOW THEY MATCH UP COYOTES
35-16-2 (72 pts; 1st in NHL) Record 23-21-8 (54 pts; 12th in West)
3.11 (4th in NHL) Goals Per Game 2.58 (17th in NHL)
2.36 (6th) Goals Against Per Game 2.62 (12th)
17.4% (16th) Power Play % 12.3% (30th)
80.1% (25th) Penalty Kill % 83.4% (11th)
Johan Franzen (19 goals) Goal Leader Radim Vrbata (24 goals)
Pavel Datsyuk (53 points) Points Leader Ray Whitney (45 points)

  • The Red Wings are 63-39-22-3 (W-L-T-OTL) all-time against the original Winnipeg Jets/Phoenix Coyotes franchise.
  • Detroit is 3-0-0 against the Yotes this season, but two of the three games have been close 3-2 decisions decided in the shootout. So the 3-0-0 number is misleading. These games have been close and hard fought.
  • According to the AP, a loss by the Wings would give them their first back-to-back losses since December 21-22.
  • Joey MacDonald has never faced the Coyotes ever. Ty Conklin is 1-3-0 with a 3.27 GAA and 877 SV%. Let's hope the Coyotes virgin starts.
  • Today is also Fabian Brunnstrom's birthday (as well as Babe Ruth, Ronald Regan, Tom Brokaw and Bob Marley). Tomorrow is JoeyMac and Matthew Stafford's birthday. It's Brendan Smith's birthday in two days. Good company.

Prediction: Well this prediction is easy. The Red Wings win the game 5-4. Pavel Datsyuk gets a hat trick. Johan Franzen gets three assists. Henrik Zetterberg with another two assists. It will be like 1988 all over again. Pavel Datsyuk is the player of the game.

Let's Go Red Wings.

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