7p ET, PNC Arena
TV: Fox Sports Detroit, Fox Sports Carolinas
Radio: 97.1 The Ticket
Hurricanes Blog: Canes Country
The Red Wings slimed the BuffaSlugs Wednesday night, already making friends in their new conference and division. Tonight the Wings travel to Raleigh to visit the Carolina Hurricanes and seek to continue their perfect Eastern Conference record. The Canes really aren't a scary team, and depth isn't their strong suit. The Hurricanes are in the brand spanking new Metropolitan division, new uniforms and several new players on the roster. Rookie forward Elias Lindholm, the imposing former Buffalo Sabre Nathan Gerbe (pictured here next to John Scott), defensemen Andrej Sekera and Ron Hainsey, and goaltender Anton Khudobin (who's from UST-Kamenogorsk,KAZ and I hope to never have to type that again).
What, no rivalry night on NBC for these two heated rival teams who last played each other *checks notes* on.... March 24, 2012? The NHL is really missing a great opportunity here. Let's hop in our TARDIS and take a quick look at what happened last time these two team met. It was a dark time for the Detroit Red Wings. The Wings were the verge of setting another franchise record, this one for the longes losing streak in 21 years (since before Lidstrom was a Red Wing). They had been without the services of The Perfect Human for 11 games (bone bruise), and Johan Franzen (back), Jonathan Ericsson (wrist), and Darren Helm (back) were all watching from the infirmity. At least we had Jimmy Howard to save our butts though, right? Haha, just kidding. Jimmy Howard was out with a groin injury, Joey MacDonald was out with a back injury, and Ty Conklin was our emergency recall from the Griffins in the previous game against the Rangers (If he hadn't cleared waivers, Jordan Pearce would have gotten his first NHL action). This scary story had a happy ending however, because Nicklas Lidstrom made his triumphant return, Todd Bertuzzi, Jiri Hudler and Drew Miller each scored a goal, and Henrik Zetterberg notched 2 goals to beat the Hurricanes 5-4.
The Wings should have a much more complete lineup this time. It's still early in the season (obvious statement is obvious) and the new guys Weiss and Alfredsson are still their new teammates out and working on clicking, but both players have looked decent to pretty good so far. Daniel Alfredsson didn't practice yesterday, and Kenny Holland said he had a sore groin and was taking a "maintenance day" but it all signs pointed towards him being in the lineup tonight. Alfredsson and Weiss look like they're gong to fit in with the team quickly and I think our second line is going to be very good. This makes me happy.
The Expected Lineup
|Justin Abdelkader||Pavel Datsyuk||Henrik Zetterberg|
|Johan Franzen||Stephen Weiss||Daniel Alfredsson|
|Daniel Cleary||Joakim Andersson||Todd Bertuzzi|
|Drew Miller||Cory Emmerton||Mikael Samuelsson|
|Niklas Kronwall||Jonathan Ericsson|
|Danny DeKeyser||Jakub Kindl|
|Brendan Smith||Kyle Quincey|
|Jimmy Howard (starting)|
Scratches: Brian Lashoff, Tomas Tatar
Injuries: Jordin Tootoo (shoulder), Jonas Gustavsson (groin)
LTIR: Darren Helm (body), Patrick Eaves (knee and ankle)
|HURRICANES||THE MATCH-UP (LAST SEASON)||RED WINGS|
|19-25-4 (42 pts; 13th in East)||Record||24-16-8 (56 pts; 7th in West)|
|2.65 (13th in NHL)||Goals Per Game||2.54 (20th in NHL)|
|3.31 (29th)||Goals Against Per Game||2.29 (5th)|
|14.6% (27th)||Power Play %||18.4% (15th)|
|77.6% (28th)||Penalty Kill %||81.7% (12th)|
|Jiri Tlusty (23 goals)||Goal Leader||Pavel Datsyuk (15 goals)|
|Eric Staal (53 points)||Points Leader||Pavel Datsyuk (49 points)
Player to fear: Carolina's most offensively dangerous player is Eric Staal. Staal had 53 points in 48 games last season, and together with his wingers Alexander Semin (44 pts in 44 games) and Jiri Tlusty (38 pts in 48 games) they were one of the best even strength point producing lines in the NHL last year. I've no doubt that Zetterberg, Datsyuk, and Abdelkader can handle the Canes top line, but it should be a fun match up to watch.
X-Factor: Cam Ward has the ability to steal games for his team. Last year the Hurricanes allowed the second most goals per game in the league (3.31) and the 4th most shots per game in the league (32.2). Ward had injury issues last season* that culminated in a a season ending knee injury back in March. For a team that's as weak on defense as Carolina is, and the fact that they're also missing Joni Pitkanen for the year (broken heel), their team may very well go as Ward goes.
Familiar faces: He's not currently in the lineup, however Patrick Eaves played with the Hurricanes for 1 1/2 years before signing with the Wings. Get well soon Patty. Or maybe if you've seen one Staal, you've seen 'em all? Some people collect coins, some collect stamps, while others collect navel fluff. The Carolina Hurricanes collect Staals. Eric and Jordan with the big club, and Jared in their AHL affiliate Charlotte Checkers. They only need to pull Marc way from the Rangers (he must feel like a fish out of water) and they can collect them all!
Thumbs Up (One Thing I Like About Carolina) What do I like about the Hurricanes? I like that the Wings beat them in 2002 to reclaim the Stanley Cup; we only loan it out to other teams sometimes because we're generous like that.
Thumbs Down (One Thing I Don't Like About Carolina) It's kind of hard to get any dislike going for a team I've only seen us play against 4 times. I don't like their new jerseys, specifically the home jerseys, although the away jerseys aren't quite as bad. I think that's about all I've got right now.
Bullets of Knowledge
- The Red Wings are 33-26-8 all time against the Carolina Hurricanes.
- Pavel Datsyuk scored his first NHL goal against the Hurricanes on October 31, 2001, Kris Draper got his 100th career assist on November 29, 2002 at Carolina, and Tomas Holmstrom played in his 500th career NHL game on January 2, 2004 at Carolina.
- The last time the Wings played the Canes, we had Nicklas Lidstrom, Brad Stuart, Ian White, Jiri Hudler, Jan Mursak, Tomas Holmstrom, Valtteri Filppula, and Ty Conklin in the lineup.
- Niklas Kronwall is currently tied in points (247) with Vaclav Nedomansky for 40th in franchise history. Kronner only needs 5 more points to jump ahead of Valtteri Filppula and claim the 39th spot. Johan Franzen is 4 points away from Mickey Redmond's 310 points, which is good for 26th highest points in franchise history.