6:00p ET, Xcel Energy Center
St. Paul, MN
TV: Fox Sports Detroit
Radio: 97.1 The Ticket
Wild Blog: Hockey Wilderness
Two years ago these exact two teams met on Hockey Day In America. That game also happened to be Todd Bertuzzi 1,000th career game. It's a good thing the big man played as he scored the game winning goal in the shootout to give the Red Wings a 2-1 victory. Unfortunately, Detroit will be without the services of Bertuzzi this time around. The other man that scored in the shootout two years? None other than Pavel Datsyuk. More bad news for Detroit, Datsyuk is a game time decision today.
Whether Pavel plays or not will have a big impact on the lines. Mikael Samuelsson is back in the lineup and will take his place in the top six as a second line winger. If Datsyuk plays, he'll likely center Sameulsson and Daniel Cleary. If he's out, Valtteri Filppula would center the second line, Samuelsson would move to the first and Justin Abdelkader will move to second line winger. Which would then change the third back to what we saw last game. Got all that? Good. Now none of it will matter once Mike Babcock decides to change everything we thought we knew.
Ultimately what you need to know is Petr Mrazek will be starting between the pipes for the second time this season and the second time in his short professional career. The kid is a stud and the team responded last time he was in net. Let's hope the same thing happens today. The Wild are not a real high scoring team (ranked 2nd to last in the entire league in goals per game), but they have some guys in Zach Parise, Dany Heatley and Mikko Koivu that can light the lamp. Mrazek and the Wings will have their work cut out for them. With Jonas Gustavsson on a conditioning stint in Grand Rapids, this might be Mrazek's last chance this season to show what he can do. Here's to him taking full advantage of the opportunity.
The Expected Lineup
Daniel Cleary - Pavel Datsyuk - Mikael Samuelsson
Petr Mrazek (starting)
|RED WINGS||THE MATCH-UP||WILD|
|7-5-2 (16 pts; T-8th in West)||Record||6-6-2 (14 pts; 10th in West)|
|2.64 (17th in NHL)||Goals Per Game||2.00 (29th in NHL)|
|2.93 (20th)||Goals Against Per Game||2.50 (11th)|
|14.5% (T-23rd)||Power Play %||15.7% (21st)|
|74.6% (T-25th)||Penalty Kill %||83.0% (T-11th)|
|2 tied with 6 goals||Goal Leader||Zach Parise (7 goals)|
|Henrik Zetterberg (18 points)||Points Leader||2 tied with 11 points|
- The Red Wings are 30-7-3-5 (W-L-T-OTL) all-time against the Minnesota Wild.
- The Wild have lost two in a row. Last game they lost 4-3 in a shootout to the Avalanche and before that they dropped a 2-1 contest to the Canucks.
- Last time these two teams squared off was January 25. It was the 4th game of the season and the Wings first regulation win. Howard made 23 saves. Bertuzzi led the way with 2 goals in his first game of the season. Datsyuk had a goal and 2 assists. Zetterburg and Brunner added Detroit's other 2 goals. This game was also the only game Helm has played this season.
- Detroit is 5-3-2 in their last 10 game.s Minnesota is 4-4-2.
- Mrazek is making his second career NHL start. He won his first career start in St. Louis with 26 saves on 27 shots. If you're curious, Mrazek is 1-2-0 against the Wild's farm team the Houston Aeros.