7:30p ET, Joe Louis Arena
TV: Fox Sports Detroit
Radio: 97.1 The Ticket
Leafs Blog: Pension Plan Puppets
You want to make the playoffs? You win this game.
There are a ton of scenarios for making the playoffs, but just straight up beating your opponents every night and earning two points is the most sure fire way to get the job done. The odds aren't in the Red Wings favor, but knocking off the Maple Leafs, in regulation I might add, will go a long way to helping the cause.
Toronto currently sits seven points ahead of Detroit in the standings. They're the closest Atlantic division foe in sight. If the Wings can win in regulation, that deficit is cut to five. Only five points back with two games in hand and another head-to-head matchup remaining. There are points on the table for taking and the chance to catch and potentially pass a team ahead of you.
Of course, there are tons of other scenarios for the Wings to get in or miss the cut, but none of it really matters if you don't get two points tonight. The climb only gets steeper from here on out.
The Expected Lineup (Updated)
|Johan Franzen||David Legwand||Daniel Alfredsson|
|Tomas Tatar||Riley Sheahan||Gustav Nyquist|
|Drew Miller||Luke Glendening||Landon Ferraro|
|Brendan Smith||Cory Emmerton||Teemu Pulkkinen|
|Niklas Kronwall||Jonathan Ericsson|
|Kyle Quincey||Danny DeKeyser|
|Brian Lashoff||Jakub Kindl|
|Jimmy Howard (starting)|
Injuries: Justin Abdelkader (groin probably), Todd Bertuzzi (lower body), Tomas Jurco (ribs), Joakim Andersson (foot), Daniel Cleary (knee), Darren Helm (concussion), Pavel Datsyuk (zest), Henrik Zetterberg (back), Mikael Samuelsson (who cares), Jonas Gustavsson (groin), Stephen Weiss (groin) & holy shit this list is long.
|MAPLE LEAFS||THE MATCH-UP||RED WINGS|
|36-25-8 (80 pts; 1st in WC Race)||Record||30-24-13 (73 pts; 4th in WC Race)|
|2.81 (12th in NHL)||Goals Per Game||2.54 (18th in NHL)|
|3.00 (26th)||Goals Against Per Game||2.69 (15th)|
|20.7% (7th)||Power Play %||17.4% (17th)|
|78.4% (28th)||Penalty Kill %||84.1% (9th)|
|Phil Kessel (34 goals)||Goal Leader||Gustav Nyquist (17 goals)|
|Phil Kessel (73 points)||Points Leader||Henrik Zetterberg (48 points)|
Player to Fear: Phil Kessel. He's really good.
X-Factor: Also Phil Kessel.
Familiar Faces: None.
Thumbs up (One Thing to Like About Toronto): Original Six.
Thumbs down (One Thing to Dislike About Toronto): Randy Carlyle.
Bullets of Knowledge
- The Red Wings are 276-273-93-4 (W-L-T-OTL) all-time against the Leafs.
- Last 10 games: Toronto 5-3-2. Detroit 4-5-1.
- Howard is 0-1-1 with a 2.83 GAA, .869 SV% in 3 career games against Toronto. Yikes.
Prediction: Pleasant surprise.