WHAT’S ALL THIS THEN?
The Wings take on the Oilers once again — this time at the Joe. Puck drops at 7:30 Eastern.
WHAT’S THE BIG IDEA?
The big story heading into the game is that the lines have been shuffled once again in an effort to get everyone clicking. More on that below…
NOW WHERE WERE WE?
These two squads just met on the Wings’ Western Canada road trip. It was a 3-1 winner for the good guys and we got goals from — WOULDN’T YA KNOW IT! — third liners Dan Cleary and Justin Abdelkader — and Valtteri Filppula.
THEIR LAST GAMES
:: Detroit needed overtime to beat Phoenix, 3-2, on Monday.
:: Edmonton got curb-stomped on Tuesday, falling 7-1 to the Hurricanes.
Zetterberg — Datsyuk — Homer
Hudler — Filppula — Mulo
Bertuzzi — Modano — Cleary
Abdelkader — Danger — Miller
Lidstrom — Stuart
Rafalski — Shitbox
Kronwall — Cirque
Joey & Cheese
Scratches [nickname theme courtesy of @TheScrappyOctopus]
Patrick “Shh Shh Quiet, Hurry Up and Get in the Closet” Eaves
Jakub “Don’t Make a Sound or Some Shit is Going Down” Kindl
Kris “7:00 in the Morning and the Rays from the Sun Wakes Me” Draper [groin]
Chris “I’m Stretchin’ and Yawnin'” Osgood [groin]
Todd “Just How I’m Gonna Get My Crazy Ass Up Out This House” Bertuzzi
Ville “We On The Fifth Floor” Leino
Brett “So Good That He Deserves an Oscar” Lebda
THE FIVE HOLE
1. Let’s see where these new line combinations go. Todd Bertuzzi’s been playing very well, but — as the folks talked about on TP:60 — something’s gotta get Jiri Hudler going. Since I wasn’t able to be on, I wasn’t able to drop my “you can take the man out of the trailer park, but you can’t take the trailer park out of the man” analogy for good ol’ Scuttles. He’s not a fourth line guy, and no matter how hard you try to make him one, it won’t work. Is he a top six guy? Maybe not on this squad, but that’s certainly his game. He’s not clicking on the third line, where it’s — more or less — defense first, so let’s see what happens when he’s given a LEGIT shot to score some goals. If he comes through with one, we’ll know where he “belongs,” not where he “deserves to be.”
2. I missed the last game, but from what I hear Riggy has been playing pretty well. I thought so in the few games I did see after his return, and — like Hudler — he’s being given every opportunity to prove he belongs on this team, being paired with Brian Rafalski
3. Chris Osgood’s almost ready to return which is, somehow, good. Jimmy Howard’s been getting run a little bit and I’m sure this span of four games in a week would have been nice to have Chris Osgood to spell the starter.
4. How will Nikolai Khabibulin bounce back after letting in 48 goals in the first six minutes of the last game? If I’m behind the bench, I’m telling everyone to shoot the HELL out of the puck. Put 300 shots on the board, more than a few are going to squeak by — even though he played the Wings REALLY well last week.
5. Congratulations to Ryan King, who won our first Facebook contest. He and a guest will be in attendance for tonight’s festivities, sitting in Petrella Daiquiri Seats.
WHAT WE LEARNED AGAINST THE COYOTES.
Take some shots, Rusty.