NOW WHERE WERE WE?
The Red Wings and Dallas met two weeks ago, on November 18th. You may remember that game as the “one where the Wings were hosed by Dennis LaRue,” although that only SORT OF narrows it down. The Red Wings lost 3-1, and the only goal scorer (of one that counted, anyway) was Henrik Zetterberg. Brad May’s bogus no-goal would have made it 2-2, and who knows what could have been.
WHAT’S HAPPENED SINCE THEN?
The worst fears were realized, as the Wings began a spiral immediately following the Stars game. Over the next six games, the Wings were 1-4-1, and outscored 15-5. But, on Saturday night, the Wings defeated the Blues in what we hope turns the tides for the better. For the record, it has been 8 games since the Red Wings won in regulation (November 14 vs. Anaheim).
OH, HI AGAIN / MEMBA ME?!
No change from last time, where we learned Doug Janik is the only former Star in the Red Wings system; and Garrett Stafford is the only former “Red Wing” in the Stars system. Neither will be a factor in this tilt.
BEST NAME NOMINEE
Mark Fistric. It’s undeniably close to Mark Fidrych, who is literally one of the coolest personalities in Detroit sports history. The bird, bird, bird. The bird is the word.
DID YOU KNOW…
The last five Detroit Red Wings wins have come with Jimmy Howard in net? The last game that Osgood won was November 5th, against the Sharks. Both goaltenders have six wins on the season.
THEIR LAST GAMES
–Detroit beat the Blues 4-3 in a shootout on Saturday night. It was one of five overtime games on Saturday night that ended 4-3.
–Dallas beat Tampa Bay 4-3 in overtime on Saturday night. It was also one of those five.
–Detroit Red Wings :: 12-9-4 (3rd in Central, 10th in West) :: 7-4-2 at home.
–The Artists Formerly Known as the Minnesota North Stars :: 12-7-7 (3rd in Pacific, 6th in West) :: 6-4-3 on the road.
The last time these two teams met, Meech and Maltby were healthy scratches (Maltby was “healthy” following the flu, however), and Chris Osgood was still out with an illness. Khan says that Howard is starting again (whoa…), and that unless an unnamed player can’t go (speculation that it’s Eaves), the lineup will stay the same as the Blues game.
Only-Partially-Redeemed-Tuzzi — Datsyuk — Holmstrom
Cleary — Zetterberg — Leino
Draper — Helm — Eaves
Miller — Abdelkader — May
Lidstrom — Rafalski
Stuart — Ericsson
Lebda — Meech
Kirk “Van Houten” Maltby
Andreas “One-Time Potential Olympian” Lilja
Johan “One-Time Potential Olympian” Franzen
Valtteri “One-Time Potential Olympian” Filppula
Jason “One-Time Potential Olympic Spectator” Williams
1. Fabian Brunnstrom was recalled from his rehabilitation stint prior to this game. I have to imagine its because the Stars want to pit him face-to-face with Ville Leino. Both are struggling on the scoresheet, with Fabian (18 games, 1 goal, 6 assists) narrowly edging our very own Villain (24 games, 3 goals, 2 assists).
2. I wonder if Alex Auld will play again, since Marty Turco is absolutely brutal in games played at the Joe. It’s only kind of related, but watch this anyway:
3. The third and fourth lines were the best on the ice for either team on Saturday. Here’s hoping Darren Helm buries one, because – even though it’s not his primary objective – he looks rather frustrated that he isn’t converting on the breakaway chances and that chance in the Blues game where he flubbed on an empty net. He’s the hardest worker on the team and he’ll get one sooner or later.
4. Quietly, Jonathan Ericsson has righted the ship, and he’s playing very solid hockey. This Stars game will be a good test for him, and we all hope he’s on the up-and-up.
5. Jimmy Howard is playing back to back games for the first time all season (aside from the time Chris Osgood was ill). I wonder if something’s up with Osgood, or if its time for his annual “mental break” already.
WHAT WE LEARNED vs. the Blues
Overtime/Shootouts are not the bane of the Red Wings existence after all.
STAR WE COVET
I already picked Morrow, so in an attempt to try to guess JJ from Kansas’ SECOND choice, I’ll go with Jere Lehtinen circa 1998.