Game Preview: Red Wings at Flyers, 7:00 PM

(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.)
MacDonald (starting)
Pearce (charting faceoffs)

Oh my!

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.

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