Well it's Disco Night at Joe Louis Arena...in case my horribly tacky picture above didn't indicate that to you. Personally, I hate disco--probably stemming from the connection people always make "Hey, Casey! Like KC and the Sunshine Band right?"-- but hey, its a way to liven up a game so why not? Let's dive right in then (and have a little fun while we're at it because how serious can this post really be with that picture up there?).
- Detroit needs scoring badly. Last time someone other than Todd Bertuzzi scored was against Dallas and the Wings have been shut out 3 of the last 4 games. I don't know if it's going to get any easier with Colorado coming to town either.
- Valtteri Filppula will score. He is getting back in the groove and having an impact on this team's energy and I think he'll play a big part in this game for Detroit. He's passing like he always has and his legs are fresher than anyone's and it's showing.
- Colorado is a bit of statistical anomaly. They give up a ton of shots (32, 25th in the league) and have the fewest shots per game in the league (about 26 per). They also have the third worst faceoff percentage at about 47%. So how do they have 52 points? By the skin of their teeth it seems. 13 of Colorado's 23 wins have come by one goal (10 of Detroit's 19 are by that margin) and when you have Craig Anderson in net do you really need more than one goal for insurance?
- Continuing with Craig Anderson, he's cooled off a tad since the beginning of the year but the fact remains that he is a workhorse. He's 34 of Colorado's 41 games played and won 19 of their 23. He actually allows a pretty high number of goals per game but keep in mind he's in action the majority of the game. He stopped 27 last night en route to a 4-3 Colorado win. The key to beating him for the Wings will to be put shots on him early and often and pretty much overwhelm him. Although that didn't work in the first game of the year between the two clubs, it may work this time around--who knows?
- Colorado's getting excellent production out of their young stars like rookies Ryan O'Reilly and Matt Duchene, and former Wing Kyle Quincey; all three scored last night in fact. Duchene is fourth on the team in points (25) and third in goals with 11. O'Reilly's contributed 18 pts (5 G, 13 A) and Quincey with 19 pts (4 G, 15 A).
- Don't let it go to a shoot-out. Wojtek Wolski is flat nasty/money in the shoot-out. Need proof? A youtube search should suffice. Sure, Colorado's 3-5 in the skills competition but the Wings don't exactly have that many shooters to keep pace either.
- Brad May will fight Cody McLeod is my bet. They already had a pretty good contest earlier in the year and if McLeod does something to warrant it, May will drop the gloves.
- Darren Helm and Patrick Eaves are about ready to do some damage. These guys are becoming more and more dangerous each game and they are one shot away from tearing it up. Exceptional speed, wicked shots, and incredible heart/hustle.
- Oh, and have a HAPPY NEW YEARS! I won't be in the game thread (watching my school's bowl game) but wish you all the best in 2010.