Morning Skate: Red Wings at Canucks Preview

Eaves is coming for you, Vancouver. - USA TODAY Sports

Game 13

10:30p ET (butt crack of night), Rogers Arena

Vancouver, BC

TV: Fox Sports Detroit, TSN

Radio: 97.1 The Ticket

Canucks Blog: Nucks Misconduct

Thank a lot for jinxing the Rangers game, Jeff. When the team loses 4 games in a row, things get ugly, everything sucks, the natives grow restless, and we have far too much time to (over) analyze everything. The Wings are a better team than they've played like so far this season, but particularly in the last 4 games. Losing sucks, but when we get out-played, out-hustled, AND we lose, it sucks even more. I'm tired of losing and I want to taste the sweet sweet nectar of victory over our adversary. I yearn to see our foes driven from us, to hear their lamentations and drink their bitter tears. Is that too much to ask for?

After practice on Monday, Mike Babcock said "We're not very good right now, we're going to be." He had a lot of very frank, brutally honest comments in the last couple of days, and I hope that helps motivate the team. Hopefully this road trip will kick start the Wings, help them simplify their game, play smarter, and just win some games.

We're still without Jonathan Ericsson, and missing our second best (best on some nights) defensemen isn't an easy task to overcome, especially with how young our defense is. It looks like Danny DeKeyser will move up to the top line with Kronwall, and those two will have the very tough task of going up against the Daniel and Henrik Sedin, Ryan Kesler, and probably Alexander Edler and Jason Garrison.

Vancouver will be the best team the Wings face in their 4 game Canadian trip, and I think that a good showing and a win tonight will set tone for the rest of the trip. Johan Franzen is out with an undisclosed injury, Luke Glendning is in, Patrick Eaves is making his season debut, and for now the Wings are running with only 6 D. Basically, it's going to be a tough game, the Wings have to be much better than they have, and I have faith that they can do it.

The Expected Lineup

Forwards

Henrik Zetterberg Pavel Datsyuk Todd Bertuzzi
Daniel Cleary Stephen Weiss Daniel Alfredsson
Tomas Tatar Joakim Andersson Justin Abdelkader
Drew Miller Luke Glendening Patrick Eaves

Defensemen

Niklas Kronwall Danny DeKeyser
Kyle Quincey Brendan Smith
Jakub Kindl Brian Lashoff

Goaltenders

Jimmy Howard (starting)
Jonas Gustavsson

Scratches: Mikael Samuelsson (in the Sammy Shithouse)

Injuries: Jonathan Ericsson (shoulder) Johan Franzen (canooter valve)

LTIR: Darren Helm (body)

RED WINGS THE MATCH-UP CANUCKS
6-4-2 (14 pts;5th in Atlantic) Record 9-4-1 (19 pts; 3rd in Pacific)
2.25 (23rd in NHL) Goals Per Game 2.86 (14th in NHL)
2.67 (13th) Goals Against Per Game 2.71 (14th)
21.6% (11th) Power Play % 10.0% (28th)
79.6% (19th) Penalty Kill % 85.4% (4th)
Henrik Zetterberg (6) Goal Leader Ryan Kesler (8 goals)
Datsyuk & Zetterberg (12) Points Leader Henrik Sedin (17)

Opponent Outlook

Player to Fear: It's difficult to pick just one player here, because the top line of Henrik Sedin, Daniel Sedin, and Ryan Kesler have been reeealllly good. Those three players have combined for 42 points in 14 games, and with Kesler having a big bounce back season, that's going to be a tough line to play against. The Sedin's make me cringe, and Kesler makes me scream in horror (don't click that link.... See? I warned you.)

X-Factor: If the Wings can crack him (like they did here) and take a Sammy (heh) on his confidence, Luongo can be a harmless little rolly polly. As much as I like to poke fun at him though, he is a pretty good goalie and has the ability to slam the door on your face while your nose is still in the door jam.

Familiar Faces: I can't confirm this rumor, because I most definitely don't hear it every sings Frking time his name is mentioned, but I think Ryan Kesler might possibly, maybe, be from somewhere in Michigan that rhymes with.... Provalonia. Mikael Samuelsson played 178 games for the Canuckles, and Todd Bertuzzi played in Vancouver for 8 seasons.

Thumbs Up (One Thing To Like About Vancouver): I kind of like Kevin Bieksa.

Thumbs Down (One Thing To Dislike About Vancouver): Did you know the Canucks have a reputation for diving?

Bullets of Knowledge

  • The Red Wings are 84-54-18-6 all time against the Vancouver Canucks, and 3-0-2 in the last 5 games.
  • The Wings have their 4th best franchise 3.59 goals scored / game against Vancouver.
  • Justin Abdelkader has more PIM against the Canucks (28) than against any other NHL team. Kyle Quincey also has more PIM against the Canucks (24) than against any other NHL team.
  • Henrik Zetterberg has 28 points (13G 15A) in 37 games against the Canucks. Of those 13 goals he scored, 6 of them were game winners.
  • Jimmy Howard has a career .909 SV% and 2.72 GAA in 16 games against the Canucks.

Prediction: I'm not making a prediction this time, because I swear to Lidstrom that every time I do, it's a jinx.

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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