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Morning Skate: Back to the grind

The Red Wings (and myself for that matter) have enjoyed a few days off but Edmonton comes to town and some very reachable points are ripe for the taking.

  • Jimmy Howard will start his 23rd straight game between the pipes for Detroit. Howard has been nothing short of phenomenal in net for the Wings over the past month and it's no wonder people are now starting to entertain the thought of him for Vezina. 
  • Howard was named the 2nd star of the week by the NHL. Jimmy won all four games and posted impressive numbers of 1.22 GAA and .958 sv %. You know it was a good week in the League when that's 2nd star material.
  • Hi there. My name is Jimmy Howard. I'm now third in the League with a 2.24 GAA and fourth with a .926 SV%--.003% off the top guy. Vezina contender? I think so. Sorry, Tuukka. 
  • Dan Cleary will be out for tonight's game again following a sore groin. Cleary missed the Nashville game and left the Minnesota one early. Heading into the potential postseason, this is likely precautionary and a good step for the medical staff to take with Cleary. No sense aggrivating something to the point it becomes further injured.
  • Because Cleary's out, Draper bumps up to third line to play alongside Drew Miller and Jason Williams. That means, yup you guessed it, that Derek Meech will be on the fourth line with Darren Helm and Patrick Eaves.
  • Detroit just played Edmonton on March 19 and lost in a shootout. Edmonton holds the series edge over Detroit in the three previously played games. But don't let that fool you, the Wings have forced shootouts in two of the three. They shouldn't need to force shootouts but every team has that opponent that is a thorn in the side. Edmonton is apparently Detroit's
  • Detroit's riding a season high five game win streak into tonight's game. Losing that win streak to the NHL's worst team would be a shame. Edmonton has lost 2 straight and is 3-6-1 in the last 10. Complete opposite of Detroit.
  • How great has the PK been lately? Since the Olympic break, the Red Wings have allowed only three goals to the opposition power play in 40 chances. That's 92.5% success at killing off penalties. Hella good.
  • Brian Rafalski and Nicklas Lidstrom are leading the Wings with a +22 rating. Nowhere near tops in the NHL (+43, Ovechkin) but for a team that has struggled a lot this season, it's not shabby.
  • Nashville won 3-2 over Florida on Monday, pushing their lead to 3 points. Thanks, Florida.
  • The last time these two teams met, Detroit could only have dreamed of the 6th seed. Now it is there's and a win would bring them within one point of 5th with 7 games left.
  • Edmonton's top goal scorer is Dustin Penner with 27 goals. Not much has changed it seems. 
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