Today, the Wings embark upon the post-season journey for Stanley Cup no. 12. Is it going to be easy? Hell no. But would it be as intense and/or fun if it was easy now would it?
- This is when it gets real. All the regular season games are in the past. It doesn't matter where you finished or how many goals so-and-so scored, it's all back to square one. The second season begins today and the room for error is nonexistent. Every player will have to be at their best and the Wings have a tough road ahead for #12.
- Jimmy Howard will be your starting goalie tonight for the Red Wings. Howard is putting on the pads to take the ice for his first career NHL post-season game and will face a difficult task on the road in a roaring Jobing.com arena.
- Ilya Bryzgalov is starting at the other end of the ice. Bryzgalov is just plain scary. The guy is capable of putting on a circus every night, no matter who he faces. If the Red Wings put a lot of pucks on net and plant guys like Tomas Holmstrom in his face, they can have success. If they're pushed to the exterior of the ice along the boards, there's no damn way they're beating him.
- The final piece of the playoff preview puzzle will be up later today. We've looked at the goalies, the defense, the special teams and now the offense. Be sure to stop by again and read that puppy.
- Johan Franzen could be crucial for the Wings. If Franzen turns on his post-season switch like he has done in the past, the Coyotes could be in for a world of hurt. The Mule is capable of taking over a game completely and making his own space on the ice. Expect him to get 5+ shots on net tonight.
- Along those same lines, the guy likely feeding the Mule is Pavel Datsyuk. Datsyuk has top-notch playmaking ability but has gone into a shell during the post-season at times. If Datsyuk comes out and ready to play in the "eff you, I'm Pavel Datsyuk" (H/T to Fight Night at the Joe, I think?) mode, he's going to be unstoppable.
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