Morning Skate: Red Wings at Panthers Preview

He's the best! - Joel Auerbach

Game 57

7:30p ET, BB&T Center

Sunruse, FL

TV: Fox Sports Detroit

Radio: 97.1 The Ticket

Panther Blog: Litter Box Cats

So here's the deal. I turned 26 years old at today when the clock hit midnight back when all you bums were all sleeping. I was at the bar and celebrating with all my other nocturnal friends from work. But don't you fear WIIM faithful. Because, you see, even with my obvious absence from the blog lately and my consistent lack of comments in any article or game thread because I work stupid hours, I love you all in this Red Wings community. You're all the best… regardless of what JJ says.

Let's look at the numbers. Because, quite frankly, the numbers always tell the truth, it's scientific fact. Since the dawn of time, which began in 1988 when I was born, the Red Wings, well, they hold a not so impressive record of 4-5-0 on the glorious, mother f'n date of February 6. Since we have time to kill. Let's look back at all nine encounters of the third kind.

2012: Coyotes 3, Red Wings 1

Stupid road loss.

2010: Kings 4, Red Wings 2 3 (typo fixed… now everyone and their mom can stop telling me about it in the comments)

This game was a f*cking nightmare. The Wings were up 3-0 after the 1st period. Need I say more? Suck it, Michal Handzus. Your name is stupid.

2003: Avalanche 1, Red Wings 0

The Dive suck.

2002: Red Wings 3, Rangers 1

A freakin' win! Thank you Brent Gilchrist.

2001: Red Wings 4, Senators 2

Daniel Alfredsson had a goal and an assist in this game… so did Martin Lapointe.

1997: Canucks 7, Red Wings 4

Yikes. Martine Gelinas had a hat trick. Trevor Linden had 4 assists.

1996: Red Wings 4, Panthers 2

Viachaslav Kozlov and some guy named Steve Yzerman both scored 2 goals. Good for them.

1990: Bruins 2, Red Wings 0

SUCK MY BALLS, BOSTON.

1988: Red Wings 5, Canadiens 4

Yzerman scored a hat trick. This was before he was a two-way player.

So let's get back to business here… what the hell does any of this mean? Absolutely nothing really. But on the day of my birth, the Wings beat the Habs and The Captain got us all free curly fries. Now that is something special. Since then? No so special. But history is stupid. I mean, American history rules because we owned the British and became free and dominated the world because we're the greatest country in the world. But you see, Red Wings history on my birthday tells a tale of three straight losses. This, however, is different. It's the first time in my life that Brendan Smith has worn a Red Wings' sweater on my birthday. And, damnit, he's the best. So tonight, recent history can bite me. The Red Wings are going to kick the living sh*t out of Florida. Tim Thomas can go to his bunker. The Red Wings are winning this damn game and they're going to end up where Thomas refused to go… the freakin' White House.

Giddy up.

The Red Wings are dominating tonight.

Happy Birthday to me.

The Expected Lineup

Forwards

Gustav Nyquist Henrik Zetterberg Justin Abdelkader
Tomas Tatar Riley Sheahan Tomas Jurco
Darren Helm Pavel Datsyuk Daniel Alfredsson
Drew Miller Luke Glendening Joakim Andersson

Defensemen

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

Goaltenders

Jimmy Howard
Jonas Gustavsson

Scratches: Todd Bertuzzi, Daniel Cleary, Patrick Eaves (probably waived by noon)

Injuries: Johan Franzen (concussion), Jakub Kindl (suckitis)

LTIR: Stephen Weiss (groin)

PANTHERS THE MATCH-UP RED WINGS
22-27-7 (51 pts; 7th in Metro) Record 25-19-12 (62 pts; 5th in Atlantic)
2.32 (27th in NHL) Goals Per Game 2.68 (15th in NHL)
3.04 (26th) Goals Against Per Game 2.66 (14th)
9.3% (30th) Power Play % 16.8% (21st)
77.1% (30th) Penalty Kill % 83.1% (11th)
Brad Boyes (15 goals) Goal Leader Henrik Zetterberg (16 goals)
Brad Boyes (26 points) Points Leader Henrik Zetterberg (48 points)

Opponent Outlook

Player to Fear: Easy. Tomas Kopeskhehehehehehe… just kidding. The answer is NO ONE. The Red Wings should only fear themselves. They're better than Florida. If they lose, it's because they beat themselves.

X-Factor: Boyes in the shootout.

Familiar Faces: No one that we care about.

Thumbs up (One Thing to Like About Florida): Sunshine.

Thumbs down (One Thing to Dislike About Florida): Lebron.

Bullets of Knowledge

  • The Red Wings are 1,000,041-0-3-2 (W-L-T-OTL) all-time against the Panthers.

  • Last 10 games: Florida 4-6-0. Detroit 5-3-2.

  • Howard is 50-0-0 with a 0.01 GAA, .999 SV% in 50 career games against Florida.

Prediction: Endangered Species List.

Let's Go Red Wings.
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