Pregame: Now that Mark Howe has been properly honored with his jersey being retired by the Flyers, we can get on to the game!
19:36 Holding penalty to Nik Kronwall.
Mickey Redmond says Brendan Smith plays like a very young Mark Howe. Not a bad compliment at all.
16:00 GOAL for Henrik Zetterberg! Jiri Hudler carries in to the zone and leaves the puck for Valtteri Filppula, who makes the drop pass to Hank. Z backhands a high shot over Ilya Bryzgalov.
14:39 Hooking penalty to Andreas Lilja.
6:10 Goal for Jakub Voracek. A miscommunication between Joey MacDonald and Doug Janik leads to a turnover, and Voracek taps it in.
1:49 Goal for Claude Giroux. The puck bounces over Kronwall’s stick at the Philly blue line and Giroux gets out on a clean breakaway.
Shots on net were 9-2 for Philly. Detroit didn’t have a shot on goal for the last 14:39 of the period.
16:00 MacDonald makes one hell of a sprawling save on Jaromir Jagr.
12:29 Voracek gets KRONWALLED. No penalty on the play, but replay shows Kronwall’s shoulder went to Voracek’s head. Shanny will be reviewing this one for sure.
11:59 Penalty to Zac Rinaldo for unsportsmanlike conduct (trying to make Kronwall fight to answer for the hit).
6:14 Penalty to Scott Hartnell for roughing.
5:50 Goal for Max Talbot, another breakaway after Giroux stole a bouncing puck from Ian White. Talbot had the rebound.
Shots 16 to 8 for Detroit in the second, but few of them were really quality shots. Bryzgalov didn’t have to work too hard on most of them.
The world’s tiniest octopus was on the ice to start the 3rd period. I swear this little guy must have been one-dimensional. Octo-string theory?
15:01 Justin Abdelkader and Wayne Simmonds tussle near the Philly net.
13:16 Hartnell goes to the box for interfering with Joey Mac.
11:13 GOAL for Mule! Brendan Smith makes a quick hard pass to Mule in the high slot, and Mule snaps a shot past Bryzgalov (screened by Tomas Holmstrom). It wasn’t technically a power play goal, but Hartnell hadn’t made it back to the play yet.
4:15 Slashing penalty to Darren Helm.
1:02 MacDonald out of the net.
0:56 Bryzgalov manages to make a blind save on Filppula.
Lots of scramble and pressure by the Wings, but Bryzgalov comes up big and the Flyers hang on to win 3-2. Total shots 39-23 Detroit. Hell of a game by Bryzgalov, I have to admit.
Next up: The Wings return home to face the L.A. Kings on Friday night at 7:30.
(Game Preview: “What are all these Griffins doing here?” Edition)
I suppose the best way to start explaining what the Wings will be facing in Philadelphia tonight is a simple injury report. Here we go. You may want to sit down for this and have your smelling salts and fainting couch handy.
—G Jimmy Howard (lower-body injury) is day-to-day.
—D Jakub Kindl (upper-body injury) is day-to-day.
—RW Todd Bertuzzi (lower-body injury) is day-to-day.
—D Nicklas Lidstrom (swollen ankle) is expected to return in early March.
—D Jonathan Ericsson suffered a fractured wrist on Feb. 25 and is out until late March.
—C Pavel Datsyuk had arthroscopic surgery on his right knee Feb. 21 and will be out until mid-March.
—RW Patrick Eaves (fractured jaw on Nov. 26) is out indefinitely with post-concussion symptoms.
In light of all this, Kenny Holland went raiding Grand Rapids and called back Chris Conner, Doug Janik, and Jordan Pearce. (Ty Conklin would have had to re-clear waivers if he were to be the recalled goalie.)
So here’s what we’ll have on the ice tonight:
Filppula-Zetterberg-Hudler (Our only normal intact line!)
Miller-Helm-Franzen (Not a bad idea. Maybe Miller’s tenacity and Helm’s speed can inspire Mule to a strong game.)
Cleary-Abdelkader-Mursak (A proper checking line.)
Holmstrom-Emmerton-Conner (It looks weird, but it’s the kind of weird combination that could actually work pretty well.)
Kronwall-Stuart (Keep your head up.)
Quincey-White (I’m not really sold on Quincey yet. I’m trying to withhold judgment until he’s had a little more time to relearn the system.)
Smith-Janik (Comfortable with this. Smith has been phenomenal in his two games since being called up, and Janik has been a good reliable plug-in defenseman.)
Pearce (charting faceoffs)
I get the feeling, though, that Mike Babcock, in the back of his mind, is grimly enjoying this challenge. It’s like being MacGyver, but with hockey players instead of paper clips, string, and bubble gum. “It’s all about opportunity, isn’t it?” Babcock said. “You can go around feeling sorry for yourself, which is an absolute waste of time, or you can find more players.”
The Flyers haven’t exactly been avoiding the injury bug either. They’ll be without defensemen Andrej Mezsaros and Kimmo Timonen (lower-body injuries, and winger James Van Riemsdyk (broken foot). On the other hand, goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov has been playing strong after some mid-season difficulties; he just posted a shutout in a 1-0 win against the Capitals on Sunday. The Flyers come into tonight’s game on a 2 game win streak, holding the knowledge that Detroit hasn’t won in Philly since 1997. (Granted, with the way the NHL schedules non-conference opponents that only encompasses 6 games, but still.)
Nik Kronwall says the Wings will be up for the challenge. “We got some guys out, but at the same time it’s a good opportunity for these other guys to show what they can do. Times like this is when guys get a chance to show what they’re made of.”
I see they gave you that A on your jersey for a reason, sir.
Prior to the game, the Flyers will be honoring former defenseman and current Wings scout Mark Howe by retiring his #2 jersey. The ceremony is supposed to be at around 7:00 with puck drop at approximately 7:26. FSD will be showing the ceremony. CSNPhilly.com has an excellent article by Jay Greenberg about Howe and his time as a Flyer, which you can see here.
Pregame: We’ll be without Nick Lidstrom for at least a couple more games, it seems. Our Captain has a deep bone bruise in his ankle and will be re-evaluated on Monday. Kyle Quincey, at least, is back in the lineup, and the Wings reassigned Doug Janik to the (undoubtedly relieved) Grand Rapids Griffins. Jimmy Howard will be our starting goalie for the evening.
The Minnesota Wild are somewhat injury-depleted as well (understatement). They lost goalie Niklas Backstrom to injury last night against Montreal and discovered today that he’s expected to be out for 2 to 4 weeks. Expect Josh Harding to get the start tonight. The Wild are also missing Clayton Stoner, Guillaume Latendresse, Pierre-Marc Bouchard, Mike Lundin, and Miikko Koivu.
That’s a lot of guys.
19:25 GOAL for Valtteri Filppula! Gets in alone, picks up his own rebound and backhands it past Harding while falling to the ice. This is Val’s 20th goal of the season– his very first 20 goal season!
18:52 Delay of game penalty to Cal Clutterbuck.
13:04 Penalty to Nick Johnson for slashing.
3:56 GOAL for Brendan Smith! Justin Abdelkader tries to kick it up to his own stick right in front of the net but Smith picks it up and roofs the shot. It’s his first career NHL goal. (And both of his parents are in the crowd to see it in person!)
Shots in the first were 13 to 5 in favor of Detroit. Hits were 11 to 9 in favor of Minnesota. I guess we should be relieved they didn’t get the hit counter from Columbus in for this game…
12:55 GOAL for Darren Helm! Tries to make a pass but the puck bounces back to him and he gets the shot through and past Harding.
9:15 Holding penalty to Jiri “Garden Gnome” Hudler.
3:25 GOAL for Filppula! Detroit controls the puck for quite some time in the Wild’s zone (1:14). Takes a nice pass from Henrik Zetterberg and rips a hard shot from the high slot.
2:18 GOAL for Ian White! Shoots from right side, and the puck bounces through and fools Harding.
Shots 12-5 for Detroit in the second.
19:24 High sticking penalty to Matt Cullen.
14:30 GOAL for Hank! Filppula returns the assist favor and sets up Hank for a nice shot into a mostly empty net.
Wings’ Twitter feed reporting that Todd Bertuzzi has left the game with a lower body injury and will not return this evening.
14:12 Holding penalty to Darroll Powe.
11:21 Penalty to Dany Heatley for roughing.
Drew Miller and Darren Helm are getting some power play time.
6:22 Interference penalty to Brendan Smith.
2:50 Powe thinks he spoiled Jimmy Howard’s shutout, but the refs waved it off as Powe pushed Howard into the net on the way through. Incidental contact, not a goalie interference call.
And that’s it! Howard gets his 6th shutout of the season, but isn’t even one of the three stars of the game, which should tell you how anemic Minnesota’s offense looked tonight. (They managed 19 to Detroit’s 35.) Three stars were: # 3 Brendan Smith, # 2 Henrik Zetterberg, and # 1 Valtteri Filppula.
Next up: Detroit hosts the Chicago Blackhawks on Sunday at 4:00.