NOW, WHERE WERE WE?
The last time these two squads met was May 14th: the seventh game of the second round series. The Red Wings were 4-3 winners, with Darren Helm netting the game winner (and series winner, as it were). Game 7 marked the return of Kris Draper – who played his first game of the ’09 post-season.
WHAT’S HAPPENED SINCE THEN?
Well, the Wings had an easier time in the Conference Finals than anyone in Chicago saw coming and found themselves in a Stanley Cup Final rematch. We all know how that ended. There was a mess exodus of forwards in July, and a makeshift rebuild of the questionable variety. After an atrocious start in Sweden (0-2), the Wings are starting to find their way (9-3-3 since).
OH, HI AGAIN
Kyle “We Dumped Jason Williams the First Time for You” Calder has signed with the Ducks, but he finds himself in Bakersfield of the ECHL (because the Ducks don’t have an AHL affiliate, not because he sucks like those Ferraro twins).
Todd Bertuzzi and Brad May were teammates in Anaheim, but – as far as we know – didn’t conspire together to commit attempted murder. New waiver acquisition Drew Miller was a back-and-forth Duck, winning a Cup in ’07, as did May.
DID YOU KNOW…
The Red Wings are 4-0-1 in games when Henrik Zetterberg scores (5-0-1 if you count shootout goals).
THEIR LAST GAMES
–Detroit played the second of back-to-back games on Thursday, defeating Vancouver 3-1. They’ve outscored their opponents 12-2 this week. Jimmy Howard is 2-0. Hell is reporting record low temperatures.
–Anaheim played last night, losing 3-2 in a shootout to the Blue Jackets. Sorta disgruntled, yet fully French-sounding Jean-Sebastien Giguere got the nod, meaning it’s probably Hiller Time in Motown (see what I did there?).
Detroit Red Wings :: 9-5-3 (3rd in Central, 8th in West) :: 6-1-1 at home
Disney’s Los Angeles Mighty Duck Angels of Anaheim :: 6-8-3 (last in Pacific and Conference) :: 2-2-3 on the road
At the time of this writing, there was no word on how Kirk Maltby is feeling, so I’ll plug Miller in for now. All we know about the goaltending situation is that Daniel Larsson was sent back down to Grand Rapids. He may be called up again in time for the game if Ozzie’s still under the weather, but smart money would be on riding the hot hand and giving Jimmy Howard his third straight start.
Bertuzzi — Datsyuk — Holmstrom
Leino — Zetterberg — Cleary
Draper — Helm — Eaves
May — Abdelkader — Miller
Lidstrom — Rafalski
Kronwall — Stuart
Ericsson — Lebda
1. I just hate the Ducks so much. Even with Pronger, there are plenty of guys worth hating, with Corey Perry and Bobby Ryan leading the pack.
2. Brad May is having a rough couple of weeks. Perhaps he should avoid dropping mitts with George Parros.
3. After an inspired game against Columbus, Ville re-entered the Leino Lounge with a rather invisible outing on Thursday.
4. If we’re ready to jump off cliffs thanks to Detroit’s slow start, how do you think Anaheim “fans” are feeling right now? Dead last in the conference, losing to a team the Wings just bushwhacked 9-1.
5. So has Brian Rafalski officially became the new whipping boy? Just want to be on the same page as all of you…
WHAT WE LEARNED vs. the Canucks
All of a sudden, Jimmy Howard is a reliable goaltender. With Chris Osgood struggling again (not to mention, suffering from the flu), it’s nice to have a Plan B. If you told me in October that Howard would play back-to-back games in November allowing a total of two goals against, I would have kicked you in the groin for being a damn, dirty liar.
Drew Miller stepped in rather immediately and fairly impressively. He got some penalty kill time, and in true Babcockian fashion, had his strong game rewarded by playing in the final minutes. He didn’t stick out the way you’d expect a guy who hadn’t even practiced with his teammates yet, and he was a valuable cog. Once again, Ken Holland shoves a pacifier in the mouth of all who doubt him, and finds a perfect 13th forward-type player. For free. In a trash heap.
If Henrik Zetterberg keeps playing games like he did against Vancouver, we have nothing to worry about for the remaining 65 games. Pavel Datsyuk is the best player in the world when the puck is on his stick, and he’s pretty damn good without it. If those two continue to click, the Wings are headed for greener pastures.
DUCK WE COVET
Rob said it better than I could: Ryan Getzlaf.