Morning Skate: Red Wings at Blues Preview

Abby will fill the skates of Darren Helm on the 3rd line - Dilip Vishwanat

Game 1 of the Wings lockout shortened season begins in St. Louis.

8p ET, Scotttrade Center

St. Louis, MO

TV: Fox Sports Detroit

Radio: 97.1 The Ticket

Blues Blog: St. Louis Game Time

It's finally here.

We've waited 247 days to see the Red Wings take the ice again and tonight our favorite team is back in action. The 2013 season really is the great unknown. Hockeytown has feared the day that we would finally have to watch the Wings without Nicklas Lidstrom and it becomes a reality tonight. However, this game isn't about Lidstrom. It's not about Tomas Holmstrom. It's not about Brad Stuart or any of the other players who are gone. It's a new chapter in the great history of the Red Wings organization.

For the first time in a long time, Detroit isn't a Stanley Cup favorite. They're not a conference or division favorite either. Hell, some people out there don't even think this team can make the playoffs. In the ultra competitive West, that very well could be the case. It's going to be a dog fight of a season. The Wings are going to have to claw their way to every and any point they can get and it starts tonight in St. Louis.

Believe it or not, but the Blues are the favorites to win the Central and have a shot at the top seed in the West. They're Cup contenders in the eyes of many. If the Wings are going to make the playoffs, earning 2 points tonight will go a long way. Every point matters in a shortened season and it's even more important to make sure a division foe skates away with nothing.

The Expected Lineup

Henrik Zetterberg - Pavel Datsyuk - Damien Brunner

Mikael Samuelsson - Valtteri Filppula - Johan Franzen

Patrick Eaves - Justin Abdelkader - Daniel Cleary

Drew Miller - Cory Emmerton - Jordin Tootoo

*

Niklas Kronwall - Jonathan Ericsson

Kyle Quincey - Brendan Smith

Ian White - Carlo Colaiacovo

*

Jimmy Howard (starting)

Jonas Gustavsson

Scratches: Jan Mursak

Injuries: Darren Helm (back), Todd Bertuzzi (groin) & Jakun Kindl (groin)

RED WINGS THE MATCH-UP BLUES
48-28-6 (Lost 4-1 to NSH in RD1) Record 49-22-11 (Swept by LA in RD2)
2.92 (7th in NHL) Goals Per Game 2.51 (21st in NHL)
2.44 (7th) Goals Against Per Game 1.89 (1st)
16.1% (22nd) Power Play % 16.7% (T-18th)
81.8% (T-17th) Penalty Kill % 85.8 (7th)
Johan Franzen (29 goals) Goal Leader David Backes (24 goals)
Henrik Zetterberg (69 points) Points Leader David Backes (54 points)

  • The Red Wings are 116-108-37-7 (W-L-T-OTL) all-time against the St. Louis Blues
  • Detroit went 4-2-0 against St. Louis last season with three regulation wins and one shootout win.
  • Blues' goalies Brian Elliott and Jaroslav Halak took home the Jennings Trophy last season for giving up the fewest goals all season. Halak went 26-12-7 with a 1.97 GAA, .926 SV%. His tag team partner Elliot went 23-10-4 with a 1.56 GAA and .940 SV%. Impressive numbers all around.
  • Damien Brunner will be making his NHL debut tonight. Carlo Colaiacovo, Jordin Tootoo and Jonas Gustavsson will hit the ice for the first time wearing the Winged Wheel.
  • If Patrick Eaves gets in the lineup it will be is first game since November 26, 2011. That's a long damn time.
Prediction: Sadly, our fears of the Red Wings having a weak defense will be true. This game won't be a blowout, but the Wings are going to struggle at times. The Blues will take the season opener 4-2 thanks to a late empty net goal to seal the victory. Damien Brunner impresses in his debut, but it won't be enough. Henrik Zetterberg will be your player of the game.

Let's Go Red Wings.
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