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Wings and Blues meet for the fourth time

Butt fugly.

The Red Wings return to the Joe to face the St. Louis Blues for the fourth time this season. Gametime is 7:30pm on Wednesday, December 9th.

1. Jimmy Howard gets the start again.
2. Ville Leino is the healthy scratch again.
3. Justin Abdelkader is the second line center.

The Wings and Blues opened the season in Sweden, with St. Louis winning both games. Then, on November 28th, the Red Wings squeaked out a shootout victory, thanks to a clutch skills competition goal by — make sure something soft is nearby — Todd Bertuzzi.

Jimmy Howard earned three of the four following starts following the St. Louis game, thanks in part to Chris Osgood’s inability to win a game. Howard gets the start again tonight… Since the last Blues game, the Red Wings are 2-1-1, and the Blues are 2-2.

We’ve been over this before: Conklin’s a Blue (and might get the start this time), Osgood was a Blue, and Roman Polak is a walking oxymoron. If I have to pick a second Best Name Nominee, it’d be Carlo Colaiacovo. Always go with the deigos.

B.J. Crombeen (Best Name Nominee Runner-Up) and Cam Janssen are the resident assholes in St. Louis, but there were no fights in the last tilt.

Both games in which Ville Leino has been a healthy scratch have been 3-1 Red Wings wins.

–Detroit beat the Rangers 3-1 in Manhattan on Sunday night.
–St. Louis was shutout by Colorado on Monday night.

–Detroit Red Wings :: 14-10-5 (3rd in Central, 9th in West) :: 8-5-2 at home
–St. Louis Blues :: 12-10-5 (5th in Central, 12th in West) :: 7-2-3 on the road

David Backes :: TJ Oshie :: Erik Johnson :: David Perron :: Brad Boyes :: Keith Tkachuk :: Paul Kariya :: Andy McDonald

Datsyuk — Zetterberg — Holmstrom
Bertuzzi — Abdelkader — Cleary
Draper — Helm — Eaves
May — Miller — Maltby

Lidstrom — Ericsson
Rafalski — Stuart
Meech — Lebda

Howard (starts)

Ville “Twice in a Row” Leino
Andreas “72 Straight” Lilja
Johan “Straight Face” Franzen
Valtteri “Clever Nickname Here” Filppula
Jason “Okay That Last One Sucked” Williams
Niklas “No One Reads These Things Anyway” Kronwall

1. Jimmy Howard gets the start again, his second in a row and fifth in six games. Just like last time, it’ll be important to see which version shows up (Good Jimmy or BaD HoWaRd). It sucks that we have to ask game to game, but that’s how it’s been this season.
2. For real?! Justin Abdelkader is going to get some top-six time, centering the second line when Pav and Z are playing together. Although I’m positive that’s not his ideal place in the lineup, I’m really excited to see what he delivers. Either he elevates the play of Todd Bertuzzi, finding some chemistry – or – he woefully outplays Bertuzzi.
3. That’s an interesting fourth line (which I’ll be dubbing The Post-It Line…they’re 3 M’s, get it? Okay, that was lame). I can’t wait to see if they’re as active as the fourth lines have been lately – no matter who has made them up. Drew Miller got some time in practice as fourth line center, and assuming Abdelkader stays on the 2nd line, it’ll be great to see how he does with his own unit. Stop thinking dirty.
4. The only Red Wing with multiple goals against the Blues this season is Tomas Holmstrom – will he deliver again? My gut says “hell yes.”
5. The Red Wings are 5-3-1 in games following two (or more) days rest, which is only slighter better in points-to-games-played ratio (1.22) than their season so far (1.14). They need to take advantage of these breaks in a season where the schedule is so condensed. Thanks Olympics!

WHAT WE LEARNED vs. the Rangers
The Red Wings can, in fact, piece together a good effort – so long as Ville Leino isn’t in the lineup crapping the bed.

We picked TJ Oshie last time, but I’m going to go with Alex Steen – and here’s why: he can’t jump over the  boards without commentators mentioning his dad, and if he was on my team, I’d get to see pictures/video of the sweet, sweet Winnipeg Jets jersey 82 times.

6 thoughts on “Wings and Blues meet for the fourth time”

  1. I'm excited to see Abdelkader on the 2nd line, too; if it works out, it'll be a good solution to the problems we have now due to all the injuries. You're right about it not being his permanent home, but it's a good rental for him for now, kinda like staying at a hostel. That's the way we'll think of it, especially if it DOESN'T work out: Abdelkader's hostel.

  2. Hopefully he'll rise to the occasion. Now who's thinking dirty? Babcock came right out and said it won't be his permanent home, but I'm hoping he shows the same all-out play on the 2nd line he's shown on the 4th. Maybe it will wake up some other nameless players…

  3. Niklas "No One Reads These Things Anyway" Kronwall – Nice.

    Literally the only thing I know about Alex Steen is that his dad played hockey. I never even watched his dad play. I've seen him in probably a dozen games and don't remember anything about him. The fact that he's so forgettable except for the fact that he's attached in my mind to a much better hockey player makes me think he's the Thomas Kopecky of the Blues.

  4. @Natalie — Abdelkader Hostel is now the official name for second line center. It should have been Filppula Commons all along.

    @Christine – word. I have a feeling that he won't play the whole game in that position, just a handful of shifts, but I hope that he knocks it out. Imagine him making more of his few shifts in a scoring role than Ville Leino and Todd Bertuzzi have. That'd say something about all three players.

    @JJ – The ONLY thing I know about Alex Steen is that he's Thomas' kid. I'm not even sure if he dresses. He very well may be their Kopecky, except I don't think Kopecky's dad was an awesome Winnipeg Jet. Frankly, I'd be surprised if Kopecky's dad wasn't Jabba the Hut.

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