Morning Skate: Red Wings at Panthers
7:00p ET, BB&T Center
TV: FS-D, NHLN-US
Radio: 97.1 FM The Ticket // 1270 AM CBS Sports Radio
Panthers Blog: Litter Box Cats
┳┻| _ psst
┻┳| •.•) Red Wings
┳┻|⊂ﾉ start on time
Currently in a playoff spot, the Detroit Red Wings face the Atlantic-leading Florida Panthers with only one thing on their minds: points. Two of them, to be exact. As in the two points they can earn with a win tonight. Those two points get them closer to Tampa and Boston, both of whom have lost their last two games. It also gets them further ahead of Philadelphia, who is hot on Detroit's heels with two games in hand. The first of three remaining Battles of Pennsylvania is also tonight, where Wings fans have to choose between one of the Flyers or the Penguins to sweep all three matches in regulation, but it's much easier and less stomach-churning to just have the Wings win all of their games instead.
To do that, the Red Wings are going to have to build on their victory in Columbus on Thursday, where Jimmy Howard came within a minute of getting a shutout that was foiled by a late penalty. Petr Mrazek is still sick and Jimmah's been playing well lately, earning his team points in three of his last four starts, and has frankly earned this start. We know he thrives under pressure, and tonight there's plenty of it.
The first line remained intact at yesterday's practice, as well as Anthony Mantha on Pavel Datsyuk's wing. The rest of the forwards have been moved around a bit, and it looks like Andreas Athanasiou will finally get more ice time like we've all been clamoring for, because he's playing with noted defensive stalwart Luke Glendening. On defense, Niklas Kronwall put in a full practice, and he's hoping to play tonight, though we haven't heard definitively either way. If he does, he'll likely replace Alexey Marchenko in the lineup and Danny DeKeyser on the first power play unit.
The Panthers have been scoring in bunches over their last several games, while the Wings have struggled to get any good first period performances. That continues to be unacceptable. The fans know it, the coaches know it, and the players know it. Detroit can set the tone for the rest of the game with a strong first, by stifling the potent Florida offense and maybe even scoring a couple of goals themselves. Use that as something to build on, and regain that confidence that's been sorely missed from this team.
Listen to the totally-not-sketchy man behind the curtain wall, Red Wings. This game is important.
Red Wings Expected Lineups
|Justin Abdelkader||Henrik Zetterberg||Dylan Larkin|
|Darren Helm||Pavel Datsyuk||Anthony Mantha|
|Tomas Tatar||Riley Sheahan||Gustav Nyquist|
|Andreas Athanasiou||Luke Glendening||Brad Richards|
|Danny DeKeyser||Kyle Quincey|
|Brendan Smith||Mike Green|
|Jonathan Ericsson||Alexey Marchenko|
|Jimmy Howard (starting)|
Scratches: Teemu Pulkkinen, Tomas Jurco
Injuries: Drew Miller (torn meniscus/ACL surgery), Johan Franzen (concussion), Niklas Kronwall (lower-body injury), Petr Mrazek (illness)
Panthers Expected Lineups
|Jonathan Huberdeau||Aleksander Barkov||Jaromir Jagr|
|Jussi Jokinen||Vincent Trocheck||Reilly Smith|
|Jiri Hudler||Nick Bjugstad||Teddy Purcell|
|Garrett Wilson||Greg McKegg||Shawn Thornton|
|Dmitry Kulikov||Aaron Ekblad|
|Brian Campbell||Steven Kampfer|
|Jakub Kindl||Alex Petrovic|
|Roberto Luongo (starting)|
|PANTHERS||THE MATCH-UP||RED WINGS|
|40-22-9 (89 pts; 1st in Atlantic)||Record||35-25-11 (81 pts; 4th in Atlantic)|
|2.75 (9th in NHL)||Goals Per Game||2.49 (24th in NHL)|
|2.38 (5th)||Goals Against Per Game||2.56 (13th)|
|17.2% (21st)||Power Play %||16.6% (26th)|
|81.8% (10th)||Penalty Kill %||81.0% (18th)|
|Jaromir Jagr (24 goals)||Goals Leader||Dylan Larkin (20 goals)|
|Jaromir Jagr (55 points)||Points Leader||Henrik Zetterberg (44 points)|
Let's Go Red Wings!!!
Game Day Prediction Contest
Would you like to predict the outcome of the game and potentially become internet famous? Well you're in luck, because here's your opportunity. Here's how it works.
Make your game predictions on the winning team, final score, and who the Wings player of the game will be. Enter the required information into the form below using the formats indicated in the questions. If you don't use those formats, your answers will be disregarded. All submissions are timestamped and will be accepted only until the official game start time. All other submissions after that will be disregarded. Only one submission per person, please. POTG will be determined by the collective of WiiM writers.
Each correct winning team prediction is worth 1 point. Each correct player of the game prediction is worth 2 points. Each correct final score prediction is worth 5 points. If you get all three correct you'll receive 15 points.