Morning Skate: Red Wings at Ducks - Game 1 Preview

USA TODAY Sports

10:30p ET, Honda Center

Anaheim, CA

TV: Fox Sports Detroit, NBCSN, TSN

Radio: 97.1 The Ticket

Ducks Blogs: Anaheim Calling & Battle of California

Detroit Red Wings Tickets

It feels to me like the Red Wings are playing with house money right now. This season has been hell. Up and downs and up and downs and more ups and downs. Four straight wins to end the season has this team playing it's best hockey of the season and has given us fans one last up heading into the playoffs.

The Stanley Cup is without a doubt the ultimate goal, but after what we've been through, yeah, I'm just happy to be here. Now if the Wings win this series, I'm sure that tune with change, but at the moment I'm just enjoying the ride. The Wings are underdogs and playing a team we all hate. It's a new role for us. I just keep telling myself how big this series is in terms of the kids. Solid NHL postseason playing time for guys like Gustav Nyquist, Joakim Andersson, Brendan Smith and Danny DeKeyser. Hell, even Jakub Kindl, who isn't a kid but really hasn't gotten a sniff in the playoffs the last few years. What these players go through in the next two weeks is going to be huge for the Red Wings franchise for seasons to come. And, if they have success? Oh man, that's a giant ass cherry on top.

With all that said though… screw the Ducks. Screw them straight to hell. What better way for the kids to get a taste of the postseason than to beat a rival and show the rest of the league the Red Wings aren't dead yet. And it's not just the kids, you want an X factor in this series? I'll give you an X factor.

His name is James Tiberius Howard III.

He's ready. He's ready to steal a series. He's ready to shove it in the face of all those critics who overlooked his abilities because he's a Red Wings' goalie. He's ready to earn that contract. He's ready to become elite. Nicklas Lidstrom is gone. Brad Stuart and Brian Rafalski are gone. Detroit finished FIFTH (!) in goals against this season. No offense to the defense, but you can credit a whole hell of a lot of that to Howard. He finished the season locked into a zone. He's going to carry that into the playoffs and carry this team on his back.

Ladies and gentlemen, it's the postseason. Bring on the nerves. Bring on the aches. Bring on the pains. Bring on the joy and sorrow. The most exciting and excruciating time of the season beings tonight. We love it. We hate it. Why?

Because it's the Cup.

LET'S ROLL.

The Expected Lineup

Henrik Zetterberg - Pavel Datsyuk - Justin Abdelkader

Johan Franzen - Valtteri Filppula - Daniel Cleary

Gustav Nyquist - Joakim Andersson - Damien Brunner

Patrick Eaves - Cory Emmerton - Jordin Tootoo

*

Niklas Kronwall - Jonathan Ericsson

Brendan Smith - Kyle Quincey

Danny DeKeyser - Jakub Kindl

*

Jimmy Howard (starting)

Jonas Gustavsson

Scratches: Ian White, Brian Lashoff and Carlo Colaiacovo

Injuries: Drew Miller (hand), Mikael Samuelsson (upper body), Todd Bertuzzi (back) and Darren Helm (back)

RED WINGS THE MATCH-UP DUCKS
24-16-8 (56 pts; 7th in West) Record 30-12-6 (66 pts; 2nd in West)
2.54 (20th in NHL) Goals Per Game 2.79 (8th in NHL)
2.29 (5th) Goals Against Per Game 2.40 (11th)
18.4% (15th) Power Play % 21.5% (4th)
81.7% (12th) Penalty Kill % 81.5% (13th)
Pavel Datsyuk (15 goals) Goal Leader 2 tied with 15 goals
Pavel Datsyuk (49 points) Points Leader Ryan Getzlaf (49 points)

  • The Red Wings are 14-11 (W-L) all-time against the Anaheim Ducks in the postseason. Detroit has won 3 of the 5 series between these clubs.
  • Anaheim missed the playoffs in 2012. The last time the Ducks made the postseason was 2011. They lost in 6 games to the Nashville Predators.
  • The Wings are 3-3 all-time against the Ducks in playoff games played on a Tuesday.
  • Last time these two teams met in the postseason was May 14, 2009. Detroit won Game 7 of the Western Conference Semi-finals 4-3. Jiri Hudler, Helm, Samuelsson and Cleary were your goal scorers.
  • Howard is 13-15 with a 2.63 GAA and .915 SV% with 1 career shutout in 28 career playoff starts. He has never faced the Ducks in the postseason. He went 2-1-0 against Anaheim this season with a 2.01 GAA and .942 SV%.
Prediction: Red Wings win 3-2.


Let's Go Red Wings.
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