Morning Skate: Red Wings at Blues Preview

Scott Rovak-USA TODAY Sports

8p ET, Scottrade Center

St. Louis, MO

TV: Fox Sports Detroit

Radio: 97.1 The Ticket

Blues Blog: St. Louis Game Time

Detroit Red Wings Tickets

There's no corner for this team to turn. The way the Red Wings play is something we're just going to have to deal with. They're far from a Stanley Cup contender. They're not going to all of the sudden start playing well and surge to the top of the Western Conference. What we see is what we get. Detroit is a team that's going to play well some nights and struggle mightily the next. Quite frankly, the Red Wings are just flat out an average team that is going to battle for the 8th seed and the right to lose in the first round. Look at the chart below and just see where the Wings rank in the major categories. It seemed like there was some improvement, but that has since stopped. There is no scoring from the bottom six and, as J.J wrote the other day, special teams is killing the Red Wings.

As far as tonight's game goes, well, it appears Todd Bertuzzi will be back in the top six and Brian Lashoff will see action once again. Tomas Tatar will be bumped down to the third line to help drag The Corpse of Daniel Cleary along. The biggest question will be who starts in net. Mike Babcock hasn't decided who will get the nod. Jimmy Howard has started every game this season. If Petr Mrazek gets the call, it will be his NHL debut. We've gotten a nice little preview of the kid's potential. Back in January 2012 he upset the U.S. with a 52 save performance at World Juniors and nearly beat Russia in the quarterfinals. Mrazek is 16-7-1 with a 2.26 GAA and .916 SV% with one shutout in Grand Rapids. He's the goalie of the future. It will be interesting to see what he can do against a good team if he gets the start.

The Expected Lineup

Damien Brunner - Henrik Zetterberg - Johan Franzen

Todd Bertuzzi - Valtteri Filppula - Pavel Datsyuk

Tomas Tatar - Justin Abdelkader - Daniel Cleary

Drew Miller - Cory Emmerton - Jordin Tootoo

*

Niklas Kronwall - Brian Lashoff

Kyle Quincey - Jonathan Ericsson

Kent Huskins - Ian White

*

Jimmy Howard

Petr Mrazek

Scratches: Jakub Kindl, Patrick Eaves

Injuries: Brendan Smith (shoulder), Darren Helm (back), Jonas Gustavsson (groin), Carlo Colaiacovo (shoulder), Mikael Samuelsson (groin) and Jan Mursak (shoulder)

RED WINGS THE MATCH-UP BLUES
4-4-1 (9 pts; T-10th in West) Record 6-3-0 (12 pts; 5th in West)
2.44 (T-18th in NHL) Goals Per Game 3.44 (T-2nd in NHL)
3.11 (24th) Goals Against Per Game 2.78 (T-18th)
12.2% (26th) Power Play % 33.3% (1st)
69.8% (28th) Penalty Kill % 73.7% (T-24th)
Henrik Zetterberg (5 goals) Goal Leader 2 tied with 5 goals
Henrik Zetterberg (13 points) Points Leader Vladimir Tarasenko (10 points)

  • The Red Wings are 117-109-37-7 (W-L-T-OTL) all-time against the St. Louis Blues.
  • St. Louis has lost two straight games. They haven't lost three straight since early 2011.
  • Last time these two teams squared off was last Friday. The Wings won 5-3. Zetterberg had a hat trick and 5 points. Datsyuk and Ericsson added the other two goals for Detroit.
  • Detroit is 1-1-0 against the Blues this season.
  • Howard is 11-5-1 with a 2.55 GAA and .917 SV% with one shutout in 17 career starts against the Blues. If Mrazek starts it will be his first career NHL start. Last time a Red Wings goalie made his NHL debut against the Blues was March 30, 2011. Thomas McCollum relieved Joey MacDonald and proceeded to give up 3 goals on 8 shots. He was on the ice for only 14:37 and has never seen time in an NHL game again.
Prediction: Red Wings lose 4-2. They give up 2 power play goals. Damien Brunner scores a late goal in the final few minutes.

Let's Go Red Wings.
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