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Morning Skate: Home sweet home

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It's not that the recent road trip went poorly, but I'm sure the Wings are glad to be back home at Joe Louis Arena  after being gone for a week. The Wings took 4 of 6 possible points on the road and will look to get win number 9 on the season tonight .


  • I would imagine that Jimmy Howard will start in net for the Wings. As of the time that I'm writing this I haven't seen any confirmation but I also haven't seen anything about Osgood being back either. Howard had his worst outing of the season (and career) by allowing 6 goals to Vancouver on Saturday night. Tonight might be a good game to get his confidence back though as the Coyotes are in the lower half of the league in goals per game stats. 
  • Last time out against the Coyotes, the Red Wings put 45 shots on Ilya Bryzgalov but 3 goals surrendered in the first period seemed to be too much to overcome as the Wings fell 4-2 in front of the home crowd. Lauri Korpikoski scored a pair of goals for Phoenix in the win including a shorthanded goal to give the Coyotes the aforementioned 3-0 lead. Johan Franzen and Tomas Holmstrom registered the goals for the Wings in that contest. 
  • Since that game, the Coyotes have gone 1-2-1 with a win over Nashville, a loss to Tampa Bay and to Dallas, and then a shootout loss to Pittsburgh on Saturday night. The Red Wings have gone 3-1 since that meeting--but hopefully you already know the outcome of those games. 
  • Shane Doan is out indefinitely with a lower-body injury and is not even making the trip to Detroit for the game. Doan is an invaluable asset to the Coyotes so his absence from the line-up is something to watch in the game. Ed Jovanovski missed the last game for the Coyotes with an apparent illness. Word on the street is that it was boneitis.
  • he skilled trio of Nicklas Lidstrom, Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg have each earned 14 points on the season. Lidstrom has a goal and 13 assists, Zetterberg has 3 goals and 11 assists and Datsyuk has 6 goals and 8 assists. Here's the interesting stats for the trio: for Lidstrom, 9 points (1 G, 8 A) came while on the power play (64.3%). For Zetterberg, 5 points (1 G, 4 A) came on the power play (35.7%). For Datsyuk, 3 points (1 G, 2 A) came on the power play (21.4%). Datsyuk and Zetterberg are doing their damage at even strength while Lidstrom is producing a lot while the Wings have the man advantage. 
  • Ilya Bryzgalov will likely get the start in net for Phoenix tonight. The Wings don't get much of a break in terms of facing good goalies of late; facing the budding Pekka Rinne, Miikka Kiprusoff, Roberto Luongo and Bryzgalov all within 5 games (you can count the last meeting with the Coyotes or tonight's meeting with them as the fifth game). The one missing from the five is Nikolai Khabibulin and I only left him out because of his poor numbers heading into the game. Khabibulin had an excellent game against the Wings and kept it from being a blowout. So you could say that's 5 in 5 games. Yet, the Wings are still averaging about 3.2 goals per game in that five game stretch.  
  • Five For Howling is your SB Nation source for Coyotes news and snake throwing.

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  • In 101 career regular season games against the Phoenix franchise, Mike Modano has 37 goals and 56 assists for 93 points. Those are his highest point totals against any franchise and second highest goal total against any franchise. However, over the past two seasons (not counting this year obviously) he's only tallied a goal and an assist in 11 games against the Coyotes 
  • Jonathan Ericsson has been a pleasant surprise since rejoining the Wings following his back problems. Sure, he still reverts to his old self but he's also made some good plays of late and is showing some of the physical responsibility that comes with being a 6'5, 210 (or whatever size anyone decides on for him). Of course, by me saying this he will totally crap the bed tonight. It's the way of the world folks.
  • Phoenix's power play is at 13% and the penalty kill is pretty low at 77.6%. I won't say anything about Detroit's units because it of course (like I stated one bullet above) will be proven wrong tonight. 
  • The Johan must show up tonight. He's been a bit quiet recently and he's due for an ass kicking (dealt out of course). Hopefully that's tonight. If he could bring Todd Bertuzzi with him that would be cool too. Time for them to start revving it back up.
  • Tonight's game is on Versus...which means it will be full of awful announcing. 
  • Normally, I kind of enjoy the stuff that Justin Bourne puts on his blog. I liked the bit he put up about the apparent lack of care recently regarding the curvature of a player's blade but there was something that he put later in that article that I kind of don't get. He talks about how Detroit fan-favorite Ryan Lambert pointed out to him that Tomas Holmstrom has fewer fights than Sidney Crosby, despite being a "tough guy". Since when does getting the hell beat out of you in front of the net mean you're supposed to drop the gloves? Put Sidney Crosby in front of a net and let him take the amount of abuse that Homer does and I think you'll get a better idea of who the tougher player is. I can apply dumb logic too, Lambert. 
  • Uh...Nashville has lost five in a row, including a heartbreaker to Anaheim last night with 1.7 seconds left to go. Former Wing Andreas Lilja had an assist 
  • Key match-up to watch when Phoenix has the puck: Lee Stempniak? I don't know really. It's still hard to feel out who the best threat the Coyotes have at this point is. I think Detroit will come out aggressive and pressure the puck carriers in all three zones so maybe it's something to watch in terms of how the Coyotes adjust to pressure.
  • Key match-up to watch when Detroit has the puck: Justin Abdelkader has really been a spark since going into the line-up as part of the third line with Mike Modano and Dan Cleary. He's really been a good fit on that line and they've been great. Look to see if that continues tonight