Morning Skate: Red Wings/Blue Jackets Round II

Bet you $10 that Hank makes a backhand pass to Pavel for a goal (Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-US PRESSWIRE).


Another game...another player returning from injury.

Tonight's affair with in Columbus is less about playing the Blue Jackets and more about continuing to tune up a roster that is nearly 100% healthy. The addition of Johan Franzen back into the lineup will provide the Red Wings with another big body and a player with potential to score in bunches. The Mule needs to get back into game shape and find his scroing touch as the Wings prepare for his favorite time of the year.

Franzen's return will impact the rest of the lineup too. Mule taking back his spot on the top line means that rookie sensation Gustav Nyquist is without a home. He rotated in on the fourth line during the Wings latest practice. According to MLive's Ansar Khan(!) , Mike Babcock doesn't know where Nyquist will play and/or who will sit tonight. Uncle Mike is a smart man. I hope he doesn't bury Goose on the fourth line and I REALLY hope he doesn't scratch Nyquist all together (Maybe give Danny Cleary some time to rest his knee, eh?). As Petrella said on this week's podcast, Nyquist is one of the best 12 forwards on this team and to get the best out of him he needs to be in a top six skill roll and not on the 4th line. We've seen what he can do offensively. He has a six points (G, 5A) in his last seven games since he's been called up. Let's not handcuff the kid.

Now, I know the Wings are playing the Blue Jackets and they opened up a can of whoop ass on them two nights ago without the Mule in the lineup, but I doubt it will be another giant blowout tonight. I have to imagine the BJs have a little more pride than to lose by 5 or more goals in back-to-back games, especially with tonight's game on their home ice. The Wings, however, will have all the motivation in the world to win.

The Blues beat the Predators last night and, while it's still mathmatically possible, the chances of the Wings winning the division are slim to none. The good news is that the Wings remain one point up on Nashville and now have a game in hand which they will use up tonight. A win in Columbus is very important. It would give Detroit a three point lead for the 4th playoff seed. The two points tonight are extremely critical especially with a game on Friday against the Preds.

*

The Cannon is your SBNation Blue Jackets' blog.

Puck drop is just after 7:30p ET on NBC Sports Network

The Expected Lineup (Updated)

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Johan Franzen -- Pavel Datsyuk -- Todd Bertuzzi

Valtteri Filppula -- Henrik Zetterberg -- Jiri Hudler

Danny Cleary -- Justin Abdelkader -- Drew Miller

Gustav Nyquist -- Cory Emmerton -- Tomas Holmstrom

*

Nicklas Lidstrom -- Ian White

Niklas Kronwall -- Brad Stuart

Kyle Quincey -- Jonathan Ericsson

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Ty Conklin (starting)

Jordan Pearce

Scratches: Jan Mursak

Injuries: Patrick Eaves (concussion), Jonathan Ericsson (wrist), Joey MacDonald (back), Darren Helm (knee) and Jimmy Howard (groin)

RED WINGS

HOW THEY MATCH UP

BLUE JACKETS

46-25-5 (97 pts; 4th in West)

Record

24-45-7 (55 pts; 30th in NHL)

3.03 (4th in NHL)

Goals Per Game

2.28 (28th in NHL)

2.43 (6th)

Goals Against Per Game

3.22 (29th)

16.0% (21st)

Power Play %

14.9% (27th)

80.2% (22nd)

Penalty Kill %

76.2% (30th)

Johan Franzen (26 goals)

Goal Leader

Rick Nash (27 goals)

Henrik Zetterberg (66 points)

Points Leader

Rick Nash (52 points)

  • The Red Wings are 49-12-1-6 (W-L-T-OTL) all-time against the Columbus Blue Jackets franchise
  • Detroit is now 3-5-2 in their last 10 games but has won two-in-a-row. Columbus is 3-7-0 in their last 10 games but has lost two-in-a-row.
  • A win tonight by the Red Wings would match their win total from last season (47). The Wings still have a chance to hit 50 wins and have their winningest season since the 2008-09 campaign. The last two times the Wings hit 50 wins they made the Stanley Cup Final.
  • Steve Mason is 7-10-2 with a 2.88 GAA, .916 SV% and three shutouts in his career against the Wings. Ty Conklin is 4-1-2 with a 2.93 GAA, .899 SV% and one shutout all-time against the BJs. If Allen York gets the start against the Wings instead of Mason, well, York has two career apperacnces against Detroit. He's allowed one goal on 11 shots in 33:59 minutes.

Prediction: Wings take care of business and win 4-2. Johan Franzen is your player of the game.

Let's Go Red Wings.

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