Morning Skate: Red Wings at Blue Jackets Preview

Kirk Irwin

7:00p ET, Nationwide Arena

Columbus, OH

TV: Fox Sports Detroit

Radio: 97.1 The Ticket

Tickets: Available for as low as $33

Blue Jackets Blog: The Cannon

They're getting better.

I'm not going to sit here and tell you that the Red Wings have turned a corner and they're going to roll for a few games, but their play on the ice has without a doubt improved. Last night's win against the Blues was a quality victory. Henrik Zetterberg was all over the place. He scored his own version of Mario Lemieux's five goals in five different ways (Even strength, PP, SH, penalty shot and empty net). Well, Hank scored on the power play, he scored an even strength breakawy goal and he had a shorthanded empty net goal. Sure it's not the same thing, but the Wings captain led the way last night and his team was paying attention and pulled out a win.

Of course, it wouldn't be a Red Wings game without someone getting hurt. The Jakub Kindl Farewell Tour will continue tonight because Kent Huskins will likely be out after getting absolutely rocked by David Backes. First and foremost, the refs got the call wrong. Backes' hit was totally clean. He should not have gotten five and a game for a hit to the head. It was all shoulder to chest on the hit. Huskins was admiring his pass a little bit and he suffered the consequences. Hopefully he recovers quickly. He's done a nice job on the blue line so far. Brian Lashoff will see his return to the lineup if Huskins cannot go.

The forwards will remain the same. Jan Mursak is out for a long time, Mikael Samuelsson hasn't started skating again yet and Darren Helm is probably still another week away. Thankfully Jimmy Howard avoided injury last night when he was run into. I remember the last time Thomas McCollum played against the Blues and I was terrified for a repeat last night. Back to Howard though, his numbers are fantastic against the Blue Jackets and it will likely be more of the same tonight.

The Expected Lineup

Damien Brunner - Henrik Zetterberg - Johan Franzen

Todd Bertuzzi - Valtteri Filppula - Pavel Datsyuk

Patrick Eaves - Justin Abdelkader - Daniel Cleary

Drew Miller - Cory Emmerton - Jordin Tootoo

*

Niklas Kronwall - Jonathan Ericsson

Kyle Quincey - Brendan Smith

Brian Lashoff - Jakub Kindl

*

Jimmy Howard (starting)

Thomas McCollum

Scratches: None

Injuries: Kent Huskins (upper body), Darren Helm (back), Ian White (laceration), Jonas Gustavsson (groin), Carlo Colaiacovo (shoulder), Mikael Samuelsson (groin) and Jan Mursak (shoulder)

RED WINGS THE MATCH-UP BLUE JACKETS
4-2-1 (9 pts; T-5th in West) Record 2-5-1 (5 pts; 14th in West)
2.71 (15th in NHL) Goals Per Game 1.62 (29th in NHL)
2.86 (T-18th) Goals Against Per Game 3.12 (22nd)
12.5% (T-24th) Power Play % 13.2% (23rd)
71.4% (27th) Penalty Kill % 83.3% (T-8th)
Henrik Zetterberg (5 goals) Goal Leader 3 tied with 2 goals
Henrik Zetterberg (12 points) Points Leader Fedor Tyutin (5 points)

  • The Red Wings are 50-13-1-6 (W-L-T-OTL) all-time against the Columbus Blue Jackets.
  • Last time these two teams squared off was January 21st. It was the Wings second game of the season and they earned their first win, 4-3, in a shootout. Lashoff scored his first career goal and the first goal of Detroit's season. Datsyuk had a goal and an assist. Oh yeah, some guy named Brunner scored a bonerific shootout goal and made Wings fans everywhere have to change their pants (if they were wearing any in the first place).
  • Detroit is undefeated against the Blue Jackets when Tootoo has a staged fight off the faceoff.
  • Last night the Red Wings got to take on a Blues team that had to play in Columbus the night before. Now, it's Detroit's turn as they play the second night of a back-to-back. This will be the second time the Wings have played two-nights-in-a-row this season. Last time around they won the first game (4-3 SO at CBJ) and lost the second (2-1 vs DAL). Will history repeat itself?
  • Howard is 10-1-1 with a 1.78 GAA and .936 SV% with one shutout in his career against the BJs. He's pretty good against Columbus.
Prediction: The Red Wings win again. 4-2 win. Jordin Tootoo is your player of the game.

Let's Go Red Wings.
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