Amid the worst losing streak the Red Wings have endured since 2007-08, there are a lot of questions surrounding what they need to do in order to re-enter the land of the winning. Players have talked about how they need to "grind" out a win or just work harder in order to be successful.
For us fans, we don't really care what the team does; just win a freaking game. One common complaint among Wing fans is that there doesn't seem to be anyone that looks like they are mad at the winning streak.
So, what better way to get the anger going than a visit from a team that thinks they are a big rival of the Wings? Can the Ducks truly be the team that halts the early season struggles of the Wings? Will Pavel Datsyuk go all Bruce Banner and whoop the shit out of Corey Perry for the second straight season?
Anaheim Calling is your Ducks' SB Nation blog. Puck drop is a little after 7:00 PM ET.
Now, normally we'd break down some numbers and look at the two teams (and we still will), but first, let's get this out of the way now: a loss tonight is not the end of the season for the Wings. For those that are not aware, I've been MIA for the last week without internet, so I haven't watched the last few games. However, I took a quick peek at the roster and found that the Wings did not trade away all of their players, so that was some relief for me.
I look at the players and the coaching staff and I just can't help but believe that they can easily turn this thing around and get back to their winning ways. This is a team that won 5 straight to start the season, and looked pretty good doing it. I'm not ready to jump off the bridge yet, but I'll admit that I'm on the road heading there if a few more ugly losses are put into the books.
- It seems like everyone's favourite way of rationalizing the current losing streak is to point out that the last time the Wings lost 6 straight, they went on to win the Stanley Cup. There are 2 things wrong with that: first, past results are not an indicator of future performance, and second, that team was comfortably in first overall before injuries decimated the team. So, for the sake of everyone's sanity, stop saying that this losing streak is good because they won the Cup the last time it happened; it's getting annoying.
- It's not a mystery why the Wings aren't winning: during their current losing streak, they have scored a grand total of 6 goals in 6 games. That includes a 1-goal performance against the Blue Jackets and another 1-goal game against the Flames. For those keeping score, those are the 29th and 15th ranked teams in terms of goals against. Anaheim sits 12th, allowing just over 2.5 goals per game.
- Jimmy Howard is expected to get the start again tonight, and I wouldn't blame him if he decided to go ape-shit if his team only scores 1 goal again. Since becoming a father, Tiberius has put up a 2.26 GAA and .907 SV%, both extremely respectable numbers. Knowing how fiery a guy he is, I can guarantee he's putting a lot of pressure on himself to win a game for his new son, but he's going to need some help.
- The Wings aren't the only team struggling entering this game. The Ducks are wrapping up an 8-game road trip, and they have gone a dismal 1-4-3 entering the game tonight. Expect a strong effort from a team looking to end the trip on a positive note before heading home to sunny SoCal.
- There has only been one Duck that I have ever liked, and he's one of those guys that you can't help but respect. Teemu Selanne could be playing his last season, and at 41 he's not showing any signs of slowing down. While his team is struggling, he's managed to put up 14 points in the team's first 13 games. I enjoy seeing him doing well, but he can take a night off and resume his strong season in their next game.
The expected line up:
Danny Cleary - Pavel Datsyuk - Todd Bertuzzi
Valtteri Filppula - Henrik Zetterberg - Johan Franzen
Jiri Hudler - Darren Helm - Justin Abdelkader
Andrew Miller - Cory Emmerton - Tomas Holmstrom
Nicklas Lidstrom - Ian White
Niklas Kronwall - Brad Stuart
Jonathan Ericsson - Jakub Kindl/Mike Commodore
Prediction: The streak ends as the Wings turn their fowl play into a trophy-winning performance, beating the Ducks 3-2. Henrik Zetterberg emerges as the Player of the Game with a 2-goal game.