Morning Skate: Wild at Red Wings Preview

Aaaahhhhh!!!! You touch it first! No YOU touch it first! GET IT AWAY!

Game 71

7:30p ET, Joe Louis Arena

Detroit, MI

TV: NBC Sports Network

Radio: 97.1 The Ticket

Wild Blog: Hockey Wilderness

So this is what a three game win streak feels like. The last one was at the end of November and I'd forgotten this feeling. The Wings currently occupy the final playoff spot in the East and sit one point behind Toronto with a game in hand. The Wings are hanging on, digging in, and finding ways to win important games; and that's exactly what the coaches say we need to do, right? Things seem like they're finally clicking and the team is really starting to come together just in the nick of time.

Kronwall took an awful crash into the boards yesterday and was unconscious on the ice for a few seconds (gif here). Once he regained consciousness and was helped off the ice, he returned after only missing a couple shifts. He said after the game that he felt "great" and would be shocked if anything came up that kept him from playing today. The only other roster change is that Teemu Pulkkinen was sent back to Grand Rapids which means that Darren Helm will play tonight despite Babcock saying he wasn't certain if he wanted to play Helmer in back-to-backs so soon.

There's part of me that's afraid to hope for another win today because this season has been so full crushing disappointments; however that art of me is overruled by the part that knows this team is capable of just about anything. Whether or not they pull it off is one thing, but I know they *can* do it so there's always hope. Nyquist is red hot, Jimmy is playing balls out, Sheahands (thanks Kyle) must have worked as a server in college because he can dish the puck like a pro, and Glendening and his line infuriates the crap out of the other team's top players.

Minny will want a little retribution today for the loss yesterday, let's not give it to them. I want to taste their bitter tears and hear the crying and lamenting of their women (and the men too, of course).


The Expected Lineup

Forwards

Johan Franzen David Legwand Daniel Alfredsson
Tomas Tatar Riley Sheahan Gustav Nyquist
Drew Miller Luke Glendening Todd Bertuzzi
Landon Ferraro Darren Helm Cory Emmerton

Defensemen

Niklas Kronwall Brendan Smith
Kyle Quincey Danny DeKeyser
Brian Lashoff Jakub Kindl

Goaltenders

Jimmy Howard (starting)
Jonas Gustavsson


Scratches: Haha

Injuries: Jonathan Ericsson (broken finger/torn ligament), Justin Abdelkader (cut leg), Tomas Jurco (broken ribs), Joakim Andersson (broken foot), Daniel Cleary (pride), Pavel Datsyuk (knee), Stephen Weiss (groin), Henrik Zetterberg (back), Mikael Samuelsson (who cares)

WILD THE MATCH-UP RED WINGS
36-23-12 (83 pts; 4th in Central) Record 32-24-13 (79 pts; 2nd in WC Race)
2.38 (26th in NHL) Goals Per Game 2.59 (18th in NHL)
2.37 (5th) Goals Against Per Game 2.69 (14th)
18.6% (14th) Power Play % 17.8% (17th)
80.0% (23rd) Penalty Kill % 83.7% (10th)
Jason Pominville (26 goals) Goal Leader Gustav Nyquist (21 goals)
Jason Pominville (50 points) Points Leader Henrik Zetterberg (48 points)

Opponent Outlook

Player to Fear: Mikko Koivu

X-Factor: Ryan Suter

Familiar Faces: Nope, still none.

Thumbs up (One Thing to Like About Minnesota): They've never won a Stanley Cup.

Thumbs down (One Thing to Dislike About Minnesota): Uuhh, Zach Parise and Ryan Suter? If you're not over that sort of thing.

Bullets of Knowledge

  • The Red Wings are 31-9-3-5 (W-L-T-OTL) all-time against the Wild.

  • Last 10 games: Minnesota 3-3-4. Detroit 5-4-1.

  • Howard is 10-3-2 with a 2.10 GAA, .911 SV% in 15 career games against Minnesota.

Prediction: Luke Glendening aka Glendanzig aka Bane, finally scores his first NHL goal. Bonus prediction, his first goal (whenever it is) will be a butt goal.

Let's Go Griff Wings!!!
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