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Morning Skate: Panthers at Red Wings Preview

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Game 31

Rick Osentoski-US PRESSWIRE

7p ET, Joe Louis Arena

Detroit, MI

TV: Fox Sports Detroit-Plus

Radio: 97.1 The Ticket

Panthers Blog: Litter Box Cats

The Panthers are a bad hockey team. The Red Wings are an injured hockey team. Even with all the injuries to the Wings' top six players, they should still beat Florida (you can blame me if they lose).

Stranger things have happened though.

The Wings still blow on home ice, boasting a 5-5-6 record at the Joe. That's pretty bad. Twice as many losses as wins. Add to the fact that we still don't know who will be in net tonight. According to Khan(!), Mike Babcock wasn't sure which netminder would get the nod between the pipes. Quite frankly, I'd give the game to Jimmy Howard. If he has another bad game, at least it's against a Florida team that the Wings could and should be able to recover against. There still isn't a goalie controversy in Detroit, but Babcock is correct when he says that Jonas Gustavsson just keeps winning.

The Expected Lineup


Todd Bertuzzi Johan Franzen Gustav Nyquist
Justin Abdelkader Stephen Weiss Daniel Alfredsson
Tomas Tatar Joakim Andersson Drew Miller
Daniel Cleary Cory Emmerton Mikael Samuelsson


Niklas Kronwall Jonathan Ericsson
Kyle Quincey Brendan Smith
Brian Lashoff Jakub Kindl


Jonas Gustavsson
Jimmy Howard

Scratches: None

Injuries: Pavel Datsyuk (concussion), Henrik Zetterberg (back) and Darren Helm (shoulder)

LTIR: Danny DeKeyser (shoulder)

8-16-5 (21 pts; 7th in Atlantic) Record 15-8-7 (37 pts; 3rd in Atlantic)
2.21 (28th in NHL) Goals Per Game 2.80 (9th in NHL)
3.21 (27th) Goals Against Per Game 2.53 (14th)
12.1 (28th) Power Play % 20.8 (8th)
75.6 (28th) Penalty Kill % 84.2 (10th)
Brad Boyes (8 goals) Goal Leader Pavel Datsyuk (12 goals)
Scottie Upshall (17 points) Points Leader Henrik Zetterberg (30 points)

Opponent Outlook

Player to Fear: Jonathan Huberdeau . Young and skilled forward. One of the few bright spots on this team.

X-Factor: Tim Thomas. He can steal the game.

Familiar Faces: A lot… Tomas Fleischmann was a Wings prospect. He was the centerpiece in the trade with the Capitals for Robert Lang. Shawn Matthias, another former Wings prospect. He was the centerpiece in the trade with Florida for Bertuzzi. And, of course, we mustn't forget, JJ's favorite player, Tomas Kopecky.

Thumbs up (One Thing to Like About Florida): Nice weather.

Thumbs down (One Thing to Dislike About Florida): They haven't eaten half of Brian Campbell's salary cap hit and traded him to the Wings for Quincey and a 3rd yet.

Bullets of Knowledge

  • The Red Wings are 14-2-5-2 (W-L-T-OTL) all-time against the Panthers.

  • Last 10 games: Florida 4-5-1. Detroit 6-3-1.

  • The Wings are currently 2-3-3 on Saturdays.

  • Gustavsson is 2-4-0 with a 3.31 GAA and .887 SV% in 6 career games against the Panthers. Howard, meanwhile, stopped 27 of 28 shots in his lone start against Florida, a shootout victory.

Prediction: Goals. Lots of them.

Let's Go Red Wings.

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