Morning Skate: Panthers at Red Wings

I love piggy back rides! - Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports

Game 52

5:00p ET, Joe Louis Arena

Detroit, MI

TV: Fox Sports Detroit Plus

Radio: AM 1270

Panthers Blog: Litter Box Cats

The Wings are finally starting to get healthy and it's showing. Jonathan Ericsson is back and he makes our defense much better, which in turn make the forwards better. Daniel Alfredsson is back, Darren Helm is back, Johan Franzen will be back tonight provided he remains concussion symptom free this morning. Jimmy Howard, and Joakim Andersson are a game or two away from returning. The Wings have managed to hold on and pretty much tread water in the absence of 4 top 6 forwards, and Ericsson and DeKeyser missing significant time, and missing our stud goalie Jimmy Howard.

The Wings have won 3 of their last 4 games, the kids look like they belong in the NHL and are really staring to contribute significantly to the team, and not a moment too soon. The Panthers are a bad team, but that hasn't stopped the Wings from losing two of the three previous meetings. Tonight we need to beat a team we should beat and take two points. I don't really care about giving a point to LA or Chicago, but I don't want to give away any extra points to Eastern Conference teams, and certainly not to teams in the same division, so a regulation win would be good.

Who's hot? Captain Henrik Zetterberg has 8 (yes 8) points in the last 4 games, and leads the team in goals and points, psychologically, and in every other way. What I'm saying is, our Captain is better than your captain. Gustav Nyquist has 6 points in the last 4 games and while Justin Abdelkader "only" has 3 points in the same 4 games, but he's an important part of that line and making goals happen, which is reflected in his 4.5 bonus pluses and 1 screener's assist in the last 4 games.. That top line has combined for 12 points in the last 2 games. Good stuff. NIklas Kronwall also has 3 points in the last 4 games after going 6 games without a point.


The Expected Lineup

Forwards

Gustav Nyquist Henrik Zetterberg Justin Abdelkader
Johan Franzen Darren Helm Daniel Alfredsson
Tomas Jurco Riley Sheahan Tomas Tatar
Drew Miller Luke Glendening Patrick Eaves

Defensemen

Niklas Kronwall Jonathan Ericsson
Kyle Quincey Danny DeKeyser
Brian Lashoff Brendan Smith

Goaltenders

Jonas Gustavsson
Petr Mrazek


Note: If Franzen isn't ready to play tonight, either Cleary or Bertuzzi will take his place.

Scratches: Mikael Samuelsson (on waiers), Todd Bertuzzi, Daniel Cleary, Jakub Kindl

Injuries: Pavel Datsyuk (lower body), Jimmy Howard (knee), Joakim Andersson (mystery spot), Cory Emmerton (hand)

LTIR: Stephen Weiss (groin)


RED WINGS THE MATCH-UP PANTHERS
23-18-10 (56 pts; 5th in Atlantic) Record 20-24-7 (47 pts; 7th in Atlantic)
2.51 (19th in NHL) Goals Per Game 2.28 (28th in NHL)
2.59 (14th) Goals Against Per Game 2.92 (24th)
16.4% (22nd) Power Play % 9.0% (30th)
84.4% (7th) Penalty Kill % 77.7% (28th)
Henrik Zetterberg (16 goals) Goal Leader Brad Boyes (12 goals)
Henrik Zetterberg (44 points) Points Leader Aleksander Barkov (24 points)


Opponent Outlook

Player to Fear: Brad Boys Brad Boys, whatcha gonna do? whatcha gonna do when he comes for you?

X-Factor: Gotta go with Tim Thomas here.

Familiar Faces: Tomas Coke and Pepsi

Thumbs up (One Thing to Like About Florida): I talked with more people in Florida who are from Michigan, than were from Florida.

Thumbs down (One Thing to Dislike About Florida): All their stupid warm weather, sunshine, and lack of snow. They just don't know what they're missing.


Bullets of Knowledge

  • The Red Wings are 15-3-5-3 (W-L-T-OTL) all-time against the Panthers.

  • Last 10 games: Florida 5-4-1. Detroit 5-4-1.

  • Gustavsson is 3-5-0 with a 3.09 GAA, .900 SV% in 8 career games against the Panthers

Prediction: Muletrick

Let's Go Red Wings!!!
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