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Detroit Red Wings Look Ahead: Going as Champions for Halloween

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The Kings go trick-or-treating at the Joe.

Does the guy on the left find the scoresheet? Of course not, he's the referee.
Does the guy on the left find the scoresheet? Of course not, he's the referee.
Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Last week was frustrating. For several reasons, the Detroit Red Wings could have come away from last week's slate with six points. For even more reasons, Detroit came away with just three of those six points. Let's start having lots of reasons to get two points now, huh?

Wednesday: Detroit Red Wings at Washington Capitals

TV: NBCSN

The Red Wings make yet another appearance on Wednesday Night Rivalry in the nation's capital to take on the team they've been rivals with for as long as it took you to read this sentence.

Washington has been having a pretty good season to date. Their 10 points are good for third in the Metroplitan, so the Barry Trotz hire has paid early dividends. They did, however, just complete a trek through western Canada that saw them grab only two of a possible six points. Still, it's never an easy trip to make, and the Capitals have an identical record as the Red Wings do through eight games.

For the Capitals, it's the usual suspects with Alexander Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom, and Mike Green putting numbers on the board. Braden Holtby has held down the crease pretty well too. Beware the new face in Andre Burakovsky, who's tied for third among rookies with seven points.

Friday: Los Angeles Kings at Detroit Red Wings

TV: FSD

Back when Detroit was regularly winning Stanley Cups and conference titles, other teams were looking to us as the measuring stick game. For a Detroit team looking to establish itself, the shoe is now on the other foot, as the defending champion Kings crash Joe Louis Arena, hoping to pack two points in its trick-or-treat bag.

The Kings stand every chance of making me look bad by getting one of my BOLD predictions wrong. They just reeled off a perfect 6-0-0 homestand, and "That 70s Line" of Jeff Carter, Tyler Toffoli, and Tanner Pearson are filling the net at will. October does not a season make, but the Kings sure are playing like they're primed for a title defense.

No one wishes injury upon opponents, but when injuries do happen especially to top players, they certainly can make it easier to gameplan. As of this writing, Kings top center Anze Kopitar left Sunday's game against the Columbus Blue Jackets. While early indications are that the injury isn't serious, there's still a possibility Los Angeles comes to Detroit without Kopitar in the lineup.

Sunday: Detroit Red Wings at Buffalo Sabres

TV: FSD

It's only October, yet Sabres fans have already been reduced to fantasizing about what number Connor McDavid (or Jack Eichel, because really, the Sabres aren't going to win the draft lottery) will wear on his Buffaslug toupé twin blade jersey.

Where do we even begin with the Sabres? They have the league's worst goal differential at -18. They have the leagues worst offense at a mind-numbing 1.11 goals per game. Buffalo is one of two teams (the other being the Minnesota Wild) that have yet to score on the power play. I would show you the Sabres' fancystats as well, but we only reserve those kinds of horrors for the actual night of Halloween.

The Sabres cannot become like last year's Florida Panthers for the Red Wings: a team we can and should beat handily every time, yet they somehow find a way to win. Detroit would be doing itself many favors if it claimed all eight possible points against Buffalo this season. Hopefully the Sabres forget to switch their clocks and it throws them off kilter a lot.

Injuries

As far as I can tell, no one's actually updated the status of Johan Franzen's health. All the talk over the weekend was who was leaving the lineup to make room for him. Of course, Ken Holland could just be cynically waiting for another injury to hit before he decides to take a risk on losing a player to waivers or take Jurco out of the lineup.

In any case, Franzen's required stint on short-term injured reserve ended Saturday, so now it's just a matter of clearing him to play again and putting him back into the line up. Detroit could sure use the Swedish forward's goal-scoring.

Trends

  • I considered researching the power play numbers for something interesting, but decided against it when I could achieve the same results by poking my own eyes out with the ends of my glasses frames.
  • That said, I would like to hope on the "Brendan Smith to the power play" bandwagon that's been going on for some time now.
  • At least if Smith had more power play time, we might have a chance of saying we have scoring from defensemen. Niklas Kronwall scored the first two and so far only goals from the blue line for the Red Wings this season.
  • The Red Wings finally gave up a power play goal. The perfect penalty kill streak lasted a full 25 times shorthanded.
  • Gustav Nyquist shooting percentage watch: four goals on 18 shots, 22.2%. Goose hasn't lit the lamp for the last four games after starting the season on a four-game goal-scoring streak.
  • Jonas Gustavvson's seen game action on a back-to-back and on Saturday against Philadelphia. Perhaps there's no real rhyme or reason to predicting when Gustavsson plays.

Just, whatever you do, DON'T LOSE TO BUFFALO!