Chris Osgood will not, in fact, start this game. He has a slight groin pull, probably a result of his tail whipping himself between the legs having seen the Canucks record the last ten. Howard goes back-to-back.
WHAT’S ALL THIS THEN?
The Red Wings and Canucks clash in Vancouver — the second game of back-to-backs for both teams. It’s a battle of the top two teams in the Western Conference, 10pm Eastern.
WHAT’S THE BIG IDEA?
Detroit has taken all four available points in the first two games of their road trip. Tonight, they finish their Western Canadian trip (although they will remain on the road until the 15th), hoping for the biggest two points yet. Chris Osgood will man the net, opposite Roberto Luongo, and Brad Stuart’s reign as the Red Wings Iron Man comes to an end at 180 games thanks to a broken jaw sustained in last night’s Calgary game.
NOW WHERE WERE WE?
The Canucks come into this game as the league’s hottest team (having won 8 straight), but their last loss came at the hands of the Detroit Red Wings on December 22nd. It was their second meeting of the season, and Detroit won 5-4 in overtime. Goals were scored by Dan Cleary, Valtteri Filppula, Nicklas Lidstrom and a pair by Henrik Zetterberg. And, per usual, WHITNEY HOUSTON WORKED.
OH, HI AGAIN / MEMBA ME?! / BEST NAME NOMINEE
Pullin’ out the repeater. Mikael Samuelsson, No One, and Tanner Glass fill these three slots.
THEIR LAST GAMES
:: Detroit pulled out a 5-4 win in the shootout against Calgary on Friday night.
:: Calgary dropped Edmonton 6-1, also on Friday night.
By special request, the TPL Glossary is ready to jailsex your eyes.
Thunderchief — Zetterberg — Homer
Scuttles — Franzen — Eaves
Draper — Helm — Tatar
Miller — Abdelkader — Mursak
Lidstrom — Rafalski
Cirque — Ericsson
Kronwall — Kindl
[it was brought to my attention by @EtchedInCold that the last two pre-game titles contained the word “Buddha.” With help from @jessleighgolden, I figured we can’t change that until it stops working…]
Mike “I Don’t Believe in Suicide, But if You’d Like to Try It, It Might Cheer Me Up” Modano [wrist]
Dan “Everything is Crisis This and End of the World That” Cleary [ankle]
Pavel “NOT MY WHIPPING ARM!” Datsyuk [hand]
Valtteri “Doomsday is Family Time” Filppula [groin]
Brad “Somebody Throw the Goddamn Bomb!” Stuart [jaw]
Todd “Stay Back, I’ve Got a Chainsaw” Bertuzzi
Todd “Have You Ever Tried Going Mad Without Power? It’s Boring. No One Listens to You” Bertuzzi
Todd “Jab One More Eye and its a Federal Crime” Bertuzzi
Jiri “If You Can Find a Greasier Sandwich, You’re in Mexico” Hudler
Niklas “Harry Plopper” Kronwall
Mike “For Once, the Rich White Man is in Control” Ilitch
Ville “I’m the Mascot of an Evil Corporation” Leino
Brett “I’ll Teach You to Laugh at Something That’s Funny” Lebda
*If there are any that you think I missed, throw them in the comments — the best one will be shared for all to enjoy on the TPL Facebook Page*
THE FIVE HOLE
1. Kindl Necessary: Jakub Kindl will play his 14th game of the season, and only his third since November 7th (excluding the games during his rehab stint in Grand Rapids). He’ll have big shoes to fill, since Brad Stuart has been a first pairing defenseman and big-time penalty killer. If Stuart is looking at an extended period in the press box, the Wings are in a tight spot because, as Malik says, the Griffins are without Jug Danik, Brendan Smith, and Brian Lashoff making a call-up extremely unlikely. Derek Meech would have to be subjected to re-entry waivers, meaning that isn’t an option. For the record, the next highest guys on the depth chart are Sergei Kolosov and Logan Pyett, who live in the 12 & 13 slots.
2. Osgood’s In: For the second game on this road trip, Ozzie gets the nod. He played admirably in Edmonton and I’m sure he wants to build on that. The Wings goaltenders have had a rough go of it this season. Since December 17th, the Wings have allowed fewer than three goals only once (December 26th vs. Minnesota). The last time Chris Osgood allowed fewer than three was December 11th at New Jersey — five starts ago.
3. Eaves Still Hot: He missed three games with an infected elbow, but Patrick Eaves has the hot hand if anyone does. He’s scored seven goals in his last eight games played, including a beauty on Friday night. If the Wings are smart (and you know they are), they’ll keep feeding him while he rides one of the bigger waves of young Patty’s career.
4. Call Ups Fairing Well: Both Tomas Tatar and Jan Mursak are playing very well for guys that are more Griffin than they are Red Wing. Just like the Oilers game, Mursak was the low-man in time-on-ice, playing 5 and a half minutes. Unlike the Oilers game, however, Tomas Tatar didn’t blow him out of the water, playing just over 7 minutes. Neither guy got a single second of special teams play, which isn’t unusual for a call-up. What happens with Mursak next season will prove how brilliant Mike Babcock is in his handling of young players. Ritola looked really good in this spot, too, and it’s worth seeing if Mursak is a full-time NHLer… or a guy taking advantage of his rare opportunity on an incredibly talented hockey club.
5. New Goat Nominees: Now that Brian Rafalski has gotten off the schneid, only Ruslan Salei has yet to net (of players that have played more games than Kindl – who also hasn’t scored). With Todd Bertuzzi celebrating the end of his 15-game skid, Justin Abdelkader is the current leader of games between goals for a forward (with 24). Of all the players expected to score goals, the team is in good shape: Zetterberg (1 game drought), Bertuzzi (1), Filppula (2), Franzen (3), Hudler (4), and Holmstrom (6). Expect one from Homer…
WHAT WE LEARNED AGAINST THE FLAMES
Jimmy Jekyll and Howard Hyde.