Morning Skate: Blue Jackets at Red Wings

*sniff* *sniff* It smell like I make goalie poop himself... again. - USA TODAY Sports

Game 7

8:00p ET, Joe Louis Arena NOTE: Game time has been changed from the original 7:30 start to 8:00 in order to better accommodate the Detroit Tigers. Baseball.. Psh.

Detroit, MI

TV: Fox Sports Detroit, NHL Network

Radio: 97.1 The Ticket

Blue Jackets Blog: The Cannon

The NHL missed out on a great gimmicky marketing opportunity by having the Wings play Columbus the DAY AFTER Columbus Day. But hey, at least this game is on in the evening when we're not all at work.

It still throws me off sometimes to look for the Wings in the Eastern Conference standing, and it always throws me off looking for Columbus in the East. The Blue Jackets just didn't want to go on living without the Wings. The Red Wings went 1-3-1 against the BJ's last season* and the Wings lost the most recent game in a shootout where Pavel Datsyuk was the only Wings player able to score on Bobrovsky in the shootout. After the dumpster fire of a game against Phoenix, Babcock made some lineup changes that seemed to kick the players in the rear end and get them playing hockey. The difference between the first 4 games, and the last 2 are huge. The Wings power play got going against the Flyers, and then had no opportunities against the Bruins. Here's to hoping for continued Wings PP success tonight.

After a nauseating heartburn inducing rocky start, things are starting to come together for the Wings. We have to have depth (secondary and tertiary) scoring in order to be successful. In the last 2 games(both wins), the Wings have 8 goals by 6 different players; selfish Captain Zetterberg hogging 3 of them for himself. Yesterday against Boston we had 3 goals by 3 different lines (Zetterberg, Weiss, Cleary) and that kind of depth is what we'll need on our way to Cup #12. Brian Lashoff has been better than Brendan Smith, and Luke Glendening with some assistance from Jordin Tootoo have given us a 4th line that can actually play and take some of the pressure (and ice time) away from the other three lines. In just two games, Glendening has showed us why he's been a success everywhere he's been. From a walk on at the University of Michigan, to their team captain and best defensive forward, to attending the Wings prospect camp last year just to improve his skills, to signing an Griffins only contract last year, starting out in Toledo and working his way up to a crucial part of their Calder Cup win, to earning a Wings contract this summer. Luke Glendening has earned his success every step of the way, and it's great to see him getting the recognition and opportunities he deserves.

Jimmy Howard sustained a bruised hand against the Flyers, and decided right before the game started yesterday, that it wasn't game ready. Jonas Gustavsson got the surprise (to us and to him) start and played a pretty darn solid game. After the game, Jimmy Howard talked with the press and said he was doubtful to play tonight against Columbus. Monster will probably get his second start of the season, and in back to back games so soon after coming back from a wonky groin, this will be a good test for him. Thanks to a lot of really crappy luck with injures, we've never had the chance to really see what he can do after some rehab from the Leafs. Another good showing from him tonight will be a great start to silencing all his critics and the non-believers.

There's still plenty of room for improvement, but the Wings have looked much, much, MUCH better in the last two games. With a winning lineup on a roll, why mess with a good thing? Mike Babcock probably won't make any lineup changes.

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
Kyle Quincey Danny DeKeyser
Jakub Kindl Brian Lashoff

Goaltenders

Jonas Gustavsson (Starting)
Jimmy Howard

Scratches: Brendan Smith, Mikael Samuelsson & Tomas Tatar

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


BLUE JACKETS THE MATCH-UP RED WINGS
2-2-0 (4 pts; 4th in Metro) Record 4-2-0 (8 pts; 2nd in Atlantic)
2.50 (19th in NHL) Goals Per Game 2.67(17th in NHL)
2.50 (12th) Goals Against Per Game 2.50 (13th)
23.1% (11th) Power Play % 17.6% (21st)
90.0% (4th) Penalty Kill % 88.0% (5th)
3 tied with 2 goals Goal Leader Henrik Zetterberg (5 goals)
Marian Gaborik (6 points) Points Leader Henrik Zetterberg (7 points)

Opponent Outlook

Player to Fear: Marian Gaborik has 6 points in 4 games and has been the Jackets' biggest offensive threat. He missed practice yesterday with the flu, but is expected to play tonight.

X-Factor: The Blue Jacket's goalie has a 2.21 GAA and .926 SV%, but after allowing 4 goals in the BJ's first game of the season, Sergei Bobrovsky has only allowed 2 or fewer goals in each of the Jacket's next 3 games. Bobrovsky has the potential to be that goalie who steals the game.

Familiar Faces: Noooope.

Thumbs Up (One Thing I Like About Columbus): They have a creepy ass statue of Arnold Schwarzenegger and that makes me laugh.

Thumbs Down (One Thing I Don't Like About Columbus): It's in Ohio.

Bullets of Knowledge

  • The Wings are 50-16-1-7 all time against the Columbus Blue Jackets
  • Kyle Quincey is 1 point away from 100 in the NHL and is playing in his career game number 300(not 200) tonight.
  • The Red Wings have their 3rd highest points earned percentage of 73.0% against Columbus. The only other teams the Wings have earned a higher percentage of points possible against are the Florida Panthers (76.1%) and the Tampa Bay Lightning (81.3%)
  • On April 3, 2007, the Blue Jackets lost to Domink Hasek and the Red Wings by a score of 3-0. It was the 16th time that season single season total in NHL history; and the highest since the 1928-1929 season.
  • The Columbus Blue Jackets have made it into the playoffs only once in franchise history (12 seasons) and that playoff "run" ended in a sweep in the conference quarterfinals by the Red Wings in '08-'09.

Prediction: Monster comes out and pulls a Hasek on Gaborik.

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!!!

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