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Morning Skate: Where the Wild Things Are

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Todd Bertuzzi and Pavel Datsyuk just hanging out in the trees.
Todd Bertuzzi and Pavel Datsyuk just hanging out in the trees.

If you were hoping for a quick turnaround after yesterday's come-from-behind victory, well, you got it. 

The Red Wings are back in action again just over 24-hours later.  The good news is that Detroit has a chance to build off their solid win in Nashville and grab some much needed points as they push towards the playoffs.  That penance day and all the talk about giving a better effort means absolutely nothing if the team plans on doing it for one game and reverting back to old, bad habits.  Minnesota was in action yesterday too.  The Wild dropped a 3-1 home contest to the Fighting Stevies and are now mathematically eliminated from the playoffs.

And last, but not least, today marks the return of none other than Pavel Datsyuk.  Pav will suit up for the first time after missing seven straight games.  It doesn't need to be explained what he adds to this team.  The Red Wings can be a dominant club if they give a full 60-minute effort without Pavel and they can be an even better team with him. 


2010 - Pavel Datsyuk 52 22 35 57 12 15 6 1 5 121


Puck drop is a 5p ET on Fox Sports Detroit+.  Unsure what channel FSD+ is?  Click here.

Hockey Wilderness is your SBNation Wild blog.

More after the jump.

The Expected Lineup

Danny Cleary -- Henrik Zetterberg --  Jiri Hudler

Johan Franzen -- Pavel Datsyuk -- Todd Bertuzzi

Justin Abdelkader -- Valtteri Filppula -- Tomas Holmstrom

Drew Miller -- Darren Helm -- Patrick Eaves


Nicklas Lidstrom -- Brad Stuart

Jonathan Ericsson -- Brian Rafalski

Jakub Kindl -- Ruslan Salei


Jimmy Howard

Joey MacDonald


Scratches: Mike Modano and Kris Draper

Injuries: Niklas Kronwall (shoulder)

LTIR: Chris Osgood (groin)

With the addition of Datsyuk, this lineup could change a thousand different ways.  I'd like to think after the success Abby had yesterday that he'll get a chance to play with guys like Mule and Bert again.  It was hard to shuffle the lines with him in the top 9.  It means Homer, Hudler, or Modano get bumped to the 4th line.  Could it happen?  Of course.  Will it? Only Babcock knows for sure.  Plus, expect the lines to be juggled throughout the game anyway.  I can even see The Flying Circus put back together for Pavel's return.  Kronwall is expected to miss his seconds straight game, so the Rusty vs Amazon competition pairing continues.  With two days off after today, Jimmy might get the start again in net.  In fact, I personally believe he should.  We need the two points and he's the best option this team has. 

UPDATE: According to the Freep, Modano and Drapes with be the scratches today and Pavel is officially good-to-go.  No lines were posted because the Wings didn't skate this morning, so exactly who will play with who is unknown.  As I said before though, expect the lines to change throughout the game depending on how things are going.


3.2 (1st) GOALS PER GAME 2.5 (26th)
2.9 (20th) GOALS AGAINST PER GAME 2.8 (15th)
22.5% (5th) POWER PLAY % 18.6% (9th)
82.2% (17th) PENALTY KILL % 83.3% (12th)
Franzen (27 goals) GOAL LEADER Havlat (22 goals)
Zetterberg (78 points) POINTS LEADER Havlat (62 points)


  • The Wings are 26-6-3-4 (W-L-T-OTL) all time against the Wild.  Let's make it 27 wins.
  • Detroit is 2-0-1 against Minnesota this season.  Their last game was a 2-1 shootout victory thanks to Todd Bertuzzi in his 1,000th career game.
  • A win over the Wild and a loss by the Blackhawks tonight against the Fighting Stevies would give the Wings their 9th Central Division crown in the last 10 seasons.
  • Pavel Datsyuk has 4 goals and 4 assists in his last 7 games against Minnesota.
  • Jimmy is 5-1-1 with a 2.22 GAA and .910 save % in his career against the Wild.
  • Yesterday was the first time since January 30, 2007 that the Red Wings came back from a 3-0 deficit to with a game.  Back in '07, the team beat the Islanders 4-3 on Long Island after trailing 3-0 (Credit Elias Sports Bureau for that wonderful stat).

Prediction: Every game from here on out is more important than the game before it.  Like I said before, yesterday's win and effort means absolutely nothing if they fail to bring it again.  I expect a full 60 minute, 110% effort fueled by the return of Pavel.  Wings win this one 4-0 and Nicklas Lidstrom is your player of the game.