Morning Skate: Running With The Devils

Here we go again.

No rest for the Red Wings. Another game on tap tonight, this time against a playoff team from the East, the New Jersey Devils. Maybe having a game the very next day in this case is a good thing. Maybe not having any time off means the Red Wings can just pick up right were they left off in the last six minutes and overtime of last night's game against the Blues. After looking like the team was doomed to the 5th or 6th seed, they rallied back to dominate a game and pull a win out from the jaws of defeat. Hopefully they can come out flying and just slam the door in the Devils face.

New Jersey comes into this game sitting in a pretty good position. They can still technically catch the Flyers and Penguins for the 4th or 5th seed, but why would they? They can't fall to 7th, so why go through hell in a first round bloodbath against a division foe? It's not like the West where the 6th seed will have to fly across the country to play the Kings or Sharks. Nope. The Devil will finish 6th and take their talents to South Beach to play the Florida Panthers.

The Devils have been led by the $100 million dollar man, Ilya Kovalchuk, and a potential future Red Wing, Zach Parise. They've got some real solid depth in old man Petr Sykora, rookie Adam Henrique, and one of the best goal scoring grinders out there, David Clarkson. The Wings are the better team on paper and quite possibly on the ice too, but games against the Devils aren't easy. As I mentioned previously, I look forward to seeing how the Wings play tonight and if momentum from last night carries over. Only two games left before the real season begins. You lose this game. You lose home ice. Wings hold their playoff fate in their hands. Get the job done.

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In Lou We Trust is your SBNation Devils' blog.

Puck drop is just after 7:30p ET on Fox Sports Detroit.

The Expected Lineup

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Johan Franzen -- Pavel Datsyuk -- Todd Bertuzzi

Valtteri Filppula -- Henrik Zetterberg -- Jiri Hudler

Gustav Nyquist -- Justin Abdelkader -- Danny Cleary

Drew Miller -- Cory Emmerton -- Tomas Holmstrom

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Nicklas Lidstrom -- Jonathan Ericsson

Niklas Kronwall -- Brad Stuart

Kyle Quincey -- Ian White

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Jimmy Howard (starting)

Ty Conklin

Scratches: Jan Mursak and Jakub Kindl

Injuries: Patrick Eaves (concussion), Joey MacDonald (back) and Darren Helm (knee)

DEVILS HOW THEY MATCH UP RED WINGS
46-28-6 (98 pts; 6th in East) Record 48-27-5 (101 pts; 4th in West)
2.62 (14th in NHL) Goals Per Game 2.95 (7th in NHL)
2.52 (9th) Goals Against Per Game 2.45 (7th)
16.8% (16th) Power Play % 15.9% (21st)
89.8% (1st) Penalty Kill % 81.2% (21st)
Ilya Kovalchuk (35 goals) Goal Leader Johan Franzen (28 goals)
Ilya Kovalchuk (81 points) Points Leader Henrik Zetterberg (68 points)

  • The Red Wings are 40-34-11-1 (W-L-T-OTL) all-time against the New Jersey Devils/Colorado Rockies/Kansas City Scouts franchise.
  • The prize of the 2012 free agent class Zach Parise has 31 goals, 34 assists and is a minus-5 in 80 games this season. He has seven power play goals and three short handed goals (Detroit has 2 short handed goals).
  • If you're looking for the Wings PP to get better tonight...think again. The Devils have the leagues best PK (89.9%) and if last night's five-minute blockbuster was any indication, well, the Wings should just stick to 5-on-5 tonight.
  • Johan Franzen's two goals last night were his first goals in almost a month. Everyone keep their fingers and toes crossed and do whatever superstitious things you do to make sure that the Mule has returned to playoff form. I won't be discouraged if he doesn't score tonight, but I'd really like to see him play well and get some real good chances.
  • The Devils are 6-3-1 in their last 10 games and have won four-in-a-row. The Wings are 4-4-2 in their last 10 and have won two-in-a-row.
  • Martin Brodeur is 8-9-1 with a 2.26 GAA, .912 SV% and two shutouts all-time in regular season games against the Red Wings. Jimmy Howard stopped 23 of 24 shots for the win in his only start against the Devils.
  • Eat 'em up Tigers. Eat 'em up.

Prediction: Man, I really, really, really want to believe that last night was the flipping of the switch. I'm cautiously optimistic. I'm glad the Devils aren't some scrub team because this would be a guaranteed loss then. I'm going to say the Wings win 4-2 with an empty net goal late to seal the deal. Pavel Datsyuk is your player of the game.

Let's Go Red Wings.

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