Morning Skate: Flyers at Red Wings Preview

This picture should make all of our readers happy. - Eric Hartline-US PRESSWIRE

Game 5

7:00p ET, Joe Louis Arena

Detroit, MI

TV: Fox Sports Detroit

Radio: 97.1 The Ticket

Flyers Blog: Broad Street Hockey

I was extremely happy to see that Mike Babcock was not pleased about his player's performance and that he called them out for playing like crap. I was also happy to see there were going to be changes. It's too early to do something drastic, but some subtle moves don't hurt when things are clearly not clicking.

However, the changes that were actually made...?

Meh.

Sure, Luke Glendening might be a small upgrade over Cory Emmerton, but is he going to make that much of a difference? In the grand scheme of things, no. And let's be fair, who gets called up is not so much a Babcock thing as it is a Ken Holland thing. We've got Gustav Nyquist, a player that has shown he can do well against other 3rd line competition, rotting in Grand Rapids. I understand WHY Goose is down in GR. It's a cap issue. I get it. But why allow yourself to get into this situation in the first place?

If only there was a skilled played sitting around who was available to play on the 3rd line.

Whatever though, this is the lineup that is going to see the ice tonight against the Flyers. Good thing Philly has been hot garbage thus far. The only team worse has been the Sabres. If the Wings falter tonight, I think I just might skip the game in Boston on Monday. It's not time to panic, but it's perfectly okay to be concerned about a few things. We're entering game five out of 82, but you can't leave points on the board against teams you're supposed to defeat. The Wings should beat Phoenix. They should beat Philadelphia. The Flyers defense is not good. Claude Giroux has not had the best start. Vincent Lecavalier and Scott Hartnell both left their game last night with injuries and will not be playing tonight. Hell, did I mention Philly played last night? Yeah, they lost to the Coyotes.

So hopefully the Flyers will be the cure to the Wings issues. Maybe Johan Franzen will wake up now that he's not expected to be the net front guy on the 2nd line. Maybe the power play will stop being the worst in the league. Maybe Jordin Tootoo will spark the 4th line. Maybe Alfredsson and Andersson will have instant Swedish chemistry because their names both start with A and end with -sson.

Maybe.

Something has got to give, right?

The Expected Lineup

Forwards

Henrik Zetterberg Pavel Datsyuk Todd Bertuzzi
Johan Franzen Stephen Weiss Justin Abdelkader
Daniel Cleary Joakim Andersson Daniel Alfredsson
Drew Miller Luke Glendening Jordin Tootoo

Defensemen

Niklas Kronwall Jonathan Ericsson
Danny DeKeyser Jakub Kindl
Brian Lashoff Kyle Quincey

Goaltenders

Jimmy Howard (starting)
Jonas Gustavsson

Scratches: Brendan Smith, MIkael Sameulsson & Tomas Tatar

LTIR: Darren Helm (body), Patrick Eaves (knee and ankle)

FLYERS THE MATCH-UP RED WINGS
1-4-0 (2 pts; Last in Metro) Record 2-2-0 (4 pts; 6th in Atlantic)
1.20 (29th in NHL) Goals Per Game 2.00 (26th in NHL)
2.40 (12th) Goals Against Per Game 2.75 (16th)
8.7% (28th) Power Play % 0.0% (lol)
84.6% (11th) Penalty Kill % 81.2% (15th)
Brayden Schenn (2 goals) Goal Leader Henrik Zetterberg (2 goals)
2 tied with 3 points Points Leader Henrik Zetterberg (3 points)

Opponent Outlook

Player to Fear: Let's go with Brayden Schenn here. I'll admit, I haven't seen a single Flyers game this season, but he's leading the team with 2 goals and 3 points in their first 5 games (crazy that a 22-year-old is doing positive things in the NHL). The Flyers have blown so far this season and fired their head coach already, but Schenn seems to be doing alright for them. This is purely a statistics based assessment. Other options to fear include: Steve Mason's helmet, Scott Hartnell's hair or Mark Streit because he's a former Islander and the Wings are the Isle's b*tch.

X-Factor: Let's go with Claude Giroux. He's really good… like video game cover good. He's had a slow start to the season, but I'd bet a lot of money he breaks out of whatever slump he's in against the Wings because that's what opposing players do. Again, this is purely a statistics based assessment.

Familiar Faces: The Flyers have one former Red Wing on their roster. None other than the great Kris Newbury. He played four games for Detroit in the 2009-10 season. He scored a goal too. Dan Cleary was unofficially a Flyer for like 36 hours as well, so that counts for something.

Thumbs up (One Thing to Like About Philly): The Liberty Bell

Thumbs down (One Thing to Dislike About Philly): Max Talbot

Bullets of Knowledge

  • The Red Wings are 47-56-21-0 all-time against the Flyers.

  • Detroit is 0-1-1 on October 12 since the 2003-04 season. They last played on this date in 2010 and lost to the Avalanche 5-4 in a shootout.

  • The Wings are 0-1-0 on Saturdays this season. Last year they were 4-3-1 on Saturdays.

  • Daniel Alfredsson and Stephen Weiss lead the way in career production against the Flyers. Not surprising since they've lived in the East for their entire careers. Alfredsson has 47 points (16G, 31A) in 55 games. Weiss has 22 points (7G, 15A) in 34 games. Of the regulars, Datsyuk has 9 points (5G, 4A) in 8 games and Zetterberg has 13 points (7G, 6A) in 9 games.

  • Jimmy Howard will be wearing a lot of pink tonight to promote the fight against breast cancer. Pink pads, blocker, glove and helmet.

  • Howard is 0-1-0 all-time against Philly. He gave up 3 goals on 27 shots way back on January 2, 2011. He was pulled after 2 periods in favor of Chris Osgood.

Prediction: Wings win 4-2

NOTE: The WiiM prediction contest is back. Two of our WiiM faithful are undertaking the task of keeping track of all the predictions and you can click on the link above to read all the details. How will it work? Just leave your predictions in the comments of the morning skates before the game starts. Tell us what you think the final score will be, which team you think will win, and who you think the POTG (Player of the game) will be. For example: 4-2 Red Wings, Henrik Zetterberg POTG.


Let's Go Red Wings.
Let's Go Tigers.
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