Only six games to go.
Monday featured a 3-2 overtime loss to the Blackhawks that saw Todd Bertuzzi's night end early, a penalty call with 3 seconds remaining in the game, and Nicklas Lidstrom become the first 40-year-old defenseman to ever record 60 points in a season.
Wednesday's challenge is an out-of-contention St. Louis Blues team. The Blues are coming off a 3-2 shootout loss to the Minnesota Wild. The biggest story surrounding the Blues is the 2-game absence of T.J. Oshie. Oshie did not attend last night's game against the Wild and will not make the trip to Detroit for tonight's game because he skipped practice on Monday.
For the Wings, the good news comes in the form of Jimmy Howard and the possibility that he could start tonight. Ken Holland said the decision would be made after the team's morning skate (not WIIM's morning skate). A decision will be made on Pavel Datsyuk's status after the morning skate as well. UPDATE: After the morning skate, the team announced that Jimmy will not be dressing tonight. Thomas McCollum will be the back-up. Datsyuk is also a no-go, but hopes to return Saturday.
St. Louis Game Time is your SBNation Blues' blog.
More after the jump.
The Expected Line-up
Jiri Hudler -- Henrik Zetterberg -- Danny Cleary
Johan Franzen-- Valtteri Filppula -- Todd Bertuzzi
Justin Abdelkader -- Mike Modano -- Tomas Holmstrom
Patrick Eaves -- Darren Helm -- Drew Miller
Nicklas Lidstrom -- Brad Stuart
Jonathan Ericsson -- Niklas Kronwall
Brian Rafalski -- Jakub Kindl
Scratches: Ruslan Saleiand
Injuries: Pavel Datsyuk (lower body), Jimmy Howard (shoulder)
LTIR: Chris Osgood (groin)
Tonight's line-up will be interesting. If Datsyuk plays, I could see him taking over for Abby and centering a line with Franzen and Bertuzzi. Abby I imagine would drop to the 4th line with Helm and one of Miller, Eaves, or Draper. Even with the news that Jimmy could start, I imagine the team might play it safe and give JoeyMac the nod. Better safe than sorry. The lines have been shaken up a bit. The top line remains, but Filppula and Modano have been separated. Flip will center Bert and Mule and reignite the Lumberjack Line. Abby, Mo, and Homer make up the third line and Miller gets the nod of Draper for the final spot on Helm's line.
|DET||HOW THEY MATCH UP||STL|
|3.2 (2nd)||GOALS PER GAME||2.8 (12th)|
|2.8 (17th)||GOALS AGAINST PER GAME||2.8 (19th)|
|22.6% (4th)||POWER PLAY %||17.4% (15th)|
|82.9% (15th)||PENALTY KILL %||81.3% (19th)|
|Franzen (27 goals)||GOAL LEADER||Backes (27 goals)|
|Zetterberg (76 points)||POINTS LEADER||Backes (56 points)|
- The Wings are 112-105-37-7 (W-L-T-OTL) all-time against the Blues. Closer than I thought it would be.
- Detroit is 4-1-0 against St. Louis this season. Tonight's game is the sixth and final match-up between the two this season.
- Jaroslav Halak is 1-3-1 with a 4.62 GAA and .857 save % against the Wings this season and in his career.
- Joey MacDonald has played the Blues twice in his career. He's 1-1-0 with 1.51 GAA and .946 save %. Jimmy Howard is 5-0-0 in his last 5 starts against the Blues.
- Food for Thought: A win for Detroit would give them 100 points on the season. It would mark the 11th consecutive year that the franchise has reached 100 points. Stop and think about that. 11 straight years of 100-plus points. Unreal. Add to the fact that they will be entering the playoffs for the 20th consecutive year and you've got the gold standard not just in hockey, but all of sports.
Prediction: I have legit concerns that this could be a let-down game, but I'm hoping that Pavel will return and ignite some energy into the team tonight. There are some much needed points on the line and an additional two will go a long way in holding off the Sharks for the 2 seed. Wings win 2-0 and Johan Franzen is your player of the game.