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Morning Skate: Red Wings at Wild

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Only 5 games left

Xavier Ouellet expresses happiness after Teeny Pokemon scored his 1st NHL goal against the Wild.
Xavier Ouellet expresses happiness after Teeny Pokemon scored his 1st NHL goal against the Wild.
Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

7:00p ET, Xcel Energy Center

St. Paul ,MN

TV: Fox Sports Plus, Fox Sports North, City

Radio: 97.1 The Ticket

Wild Blog: Hockey Wilderness

How many ways can we say the Wings are still losing games and missing out on points they now desperately need to make the playoffs? That horse has been beat to death, and we here at WIIM don't condone animal cruelty. The Wings only have 5 games left and the only thing separating us from 3rd in the Atlantic, and the 1st Wild Card spot is the fact that we've played 1 fewer game than Boston. That's how far down the Wings have slipped and how crucial it is that they get some points in their final games.

The Wings have been in a nasty funk for the last month and it's been a tough time to be a fan, and moral victories of dominating Boston for 50 minutes can only bring so much comfort. We all know this team is better than their last month's performance, becuase we saw the really good team for the majority of 60 games. I really hope they do wahtever they have to in order to get back to that team.

The Wild lost 3-2 to the Rangers on Thursday and that's the only loss in their lats 6 games. Sounds like a perfect time for the Wings to hand them a loss.

Pavel Datsyuk said yesterday that he's "good to go" tonight, but we've been teased so many times that I want to see it before I believe it. If he does play, Sheahan will bump down to 3C, Andersson will flank Glendening, and Cleary will be a healthy scratch.

The Expected Lineups

Forwards

Justin Abdelkader Henrik Zetterberg Gustav Nyquist
Darren Helm Riley Sheahan Tomas Tatar
Teemu Pulkkinen Joakim Andersson Stephen Weiss
Drew Miller Luke Glendening Danny Cleary

Defensemen

Niklas Kronwall Jonathan Ericsson
Danny DeKeyser
Kyle Quincey
Brendan Smith Marek Zidlicky

Goaltenders

Jimmy Howard (starting)
Petr Mrazek

Scratches: Daniel Cleary & Jakub Kindl

Injuries: Johan Franzen (concussion) Jonas Gustavsson (head), Pavel Datsyuk (lower body), Tomas Jurco (lower body), Erik Cole (neck)

Forwards

Zach Parise Mickael Granlund Jason Pominville
Nino Niederreiter Mikko Koivu Chris Stewart
Thomas Vanek Charlie Coyle Justin Fontaine
Ryan Carter Kyle Brodziak Jordan Schroeder

Defensemen

Ryan Suter Jonas Brodin
Marco Scandella Jared Spurgeon
Jordan Leopold Matthew Dumba

Goaltenders

Devan Dubnyk (Starting)
Niklas Backstrom


Line Matchups

Let's take a look at how the expected lines match up against each other.

* For all stats in the following graphic, data is only calculated for Marek Zidlicky from his time with the Red Wings, all prior team stats are excluded.

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Next we have a nifty gauge comparison of each line's average Corsi for % at 5 on 5 in close situations. Close is defined as a score that is tied (including a scoreless tie) or within 1 goal in the 1st or 2nd period, or when the game is tied in the 3rd period.

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Ok, now for the defensemen. This graph is taken from Waronice.com and it's awesome. All stats are at 5on5 in close situations.

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Below are the individual game save % for each expected starting goaltender.

Goaltending has been a huge weakness for the Wings since Jimmy Howard's injury. There's an enormous, stark difference in Wings goaltending and it goes back almost to the game, to Jimmy Howard's injury. Below is the scatterplot of his game by game save %. The orange line indicated the game he tore his groin and you can see the difference, not only in actual SV%, but consistency as well. There were a lot of games before his injury that Jimmy either stole for the Wings, or contributed significantly to them winning, and based on his play I think he's still hurting and clearly not 100% Just how much of a difference has there been in Jimmy's performance pre-injury versus post injury?

Jimmy Howard pre-injury .921 SV% in 31 games

Jimmy Howard post-injury .895 SV% in 18 games

Petr Mrazek is good, and he's going to be a great goalie, but he still has a lot to learn and has to become more consistent before he's ready to be the starter. It was said before the season by many people, that the Wings would go as far as Jimmy Howard could take them. There are other issues with the defense and special teams right now, but Jimmy Howard is a huge part of this team, and while many people continue to underrate him, or rant on blindly about how he sucks or we'll never win a Cup with him in net, but the team goes as Jimmy Howard goes and he's our best chance to win the Cup.

I think Dubnyk may be the first goalie I've done these graphs for who has actually improved as the season progressed. Most goalies seem to decline at least slightly.

Jimmy Howard is 21-13-10 this season with a 2.43 GAA and .911 SV% and 2 shutouts.

Devan Dubnyk is 35-12-3 this season with a 2.07 GAA and  .930 SV% and 6 shutouts.

You can see Jimmy Howard's SV% spiral chart here.

You can see Devan Dubnyk's SV% spiral chart here.

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WILD THE MATCH-UP RED WINGS
44-26-7 (95 pts; 1st Wild Card) Record 40-24-13 (93 pts; 3rd in Atlantic)
2.82 (11th NHL) Goals Per Game 2.86 (8th in NHL)
2.43 (6th) Goals Against Per Game 2.61 (16th)
15.6% (28th) Power Play % 23.9% (2nd)
87.0% (1st) Penalty Kill % 80.9% (18th)
Zach Parise (30 goals) Goal Leader Tomas Tatar (28 goals)
Zach Parise (58 points) Points Leader Henrik Zetterberg (60 points)

  • The Red Wings are 32-9-3-6 (W-L-T-OTL) all-time in the regular season against the Wild.

  • Last 10 Games: Detroit 3-5-2, Minnesota 7-3-0

  • Jimmy Howard is 10-3-3 all-time against the Wild in the regular season with a 2.21 GAA, .907 SV% and 1 shutout.

Let's Go Red Wings!!!