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Morning Skate: On to Calgary

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The Wings begin a three game road series against Western Canadian teams tonight as they make the first stop in Calgary to face Jarome Iginla and the Flames. Puck drops at 9:30 tonight so don't forget it's a late start.

  • Jimmy Howard will get the start in net tonight. Howard missed a pair of games with back spasm problems and now with Chris Osgood down with a groin injury, Howard's return couldn't come at a better time. Otherwise, we'd be looking at Joey MacDonald in net tonight. Howard is 8th in the league with a 2.14 GAA (Tim Thomas has a 0.50, he's playing super cereal) and has the 10th best SV% at .925. You can bet Jimmy will be tested a lot tonight as Calgary puts an average of 32 shots on net in a game.
  • Since Detroit beat Calgary 4-2 on October 21--a game featuring Johan Franzen's bank shot off of Kipper's noggin--the Flames have gone 3-2. One of those wins was a blanking of the San Jose Sharks, another win was a 6-2 stomping of Columbus. However, one of those losses was a 7-2 beating at the hands of Alex Ovechkin and the Capitals. The Flames allowed SIX goals in the second period, including two sets of goals that were separated by 15 seconds. I think this kind of shows that the Wings need to game plan to attack heavily after (if) they put one past Kiprusoff.
  • Miikka Kiprusoff has started 9 of the 11 Calgary games this season and expect him to take to the net again tonight after that 7-2 loss.Kipper's GAA is sitting at 2.78 while he's stopping about 90.1% of the shots he faces. 
  • Calgary has converted on 11.8% (26th) of the powerplay chances while Detroit has killed off 91.2% (2nd) of the penalties taken. On the converse, Detroit has converted on 18.6% (11th) and Calgary has killed off 82.2% (18th).
  • Landon Ferraro signed a three-year deal with the Red Wings yesterday, according to Ansar Khan of mlive.com. Ferraro was the first selection the Red Wings made in 2009 and he has scored 66 goals and added 59 assists in three full seasons with Red Deer.
  • Matchsticks and Gasoline is your SB Nation source for Calgary Flames information and insight.
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  • Jonathan Ericsson is back in the line-up tonight in the place of Doug Janik, who has been sent back to Grand Rapids. Ericsson will join Lidstrom on the top defensive pairing. Cringing begins at 9:30 tonight.
  • The third line has been a problem this season, only producing a total 2 goals and 5 assists. Luckily for them, the first and second lines have been kicking some ass and taking names so it's not as big of an eyesore but eventually the Wings will need that scoring to come through.
  • Key match-up to watch when Calgary has the puck: I think it's once again Jarome Iginla. He's off to a very slow start this season with 2 goals and 5 assists. He's been held without a point in 7 contests this season and started the season with three pointless games On the one hand, he's due for some production. On the other hand, the Wings might be able to continue shutting him down.
  • Key match-up to watch when Detroit has the puck: I will pick Datsyuk. He tallied 2 goals and an assist in the last outing for the Wings and has had a point in five straight games. He's been dangling all over the ice and making just as many great defensive and offensive plays.
  • Expected lines:
    Holmstrom-Datsyuk-Zetterberg
    Franzen-Filppula-Bertuzzi
    Cleary-Modano-Abdelkader
    Miller-Helm-Eaves
    Lidstrom-Ericsson
    Stuart-Kronwall
    Kindl-Salei
    Howard