I made it home in time to see Stuie’s empty net goal, at least. 🙂
Goals: Henrik Zetterberg early in the first, then Johan Franzen and Brad Stuart in the second, followed by Saku Koivu and Teemu Selanne to bring the Ducks within one goal. Stuart put the game away with a long distance short handed empty net goal with 48 seconds left in the game. Pavel Datsyuk assisted on the goals for Zetterberg and Franzen. Jimmy Howard stopped 32 of 34 shots and had a magnificent save (with a little help from the goal post) against Corey Perry late in the second. Jonas Hiller made 26 of 29 saves for the Ducks.
Next game: Calgary Flames, 7:00 pm on Wednesday at Joe Louis Arena.
My very first post on my shiny new blog, and do I get to watch the game I am previewing for you? No, no I do not. A pox on real life, anyway. But I will indeed be at least listening to Ken Kal and Paul Woods call the game on 97.1 FM, so there’s a little bit of a bright spot for me.
Yesterday’s 4-1 win over the Kings was a relief for everyone, particularly Pavel Datsyuk, who broke out of an uncharacteristic slump with 2 goals– one ugly one to get things going, and one lovely Datsyukian standard. Datsyuk is likely to be one of the keys to this game. As Pavel goes, so go the Wings. A confident, goal-scoring Datsyuk revitalizes and inspires the rest of the team to be better.
The other key is Jimmy Howard. The Detroit Free Press reports that Howard will be getting the start tonight in spite of the back-to-back games, and why shouldn’t he? James Tiberius has three shutouts in his last five starts against Anaheim. At some point, Ty Conklin is going to need to work back in to the goaltending rotation– we need a healthy, confident backup for Howard to get him some rest going down the long grueling stretch of the regular season and this is Howard’s twelfth straight start– but this is not the time. What the Wings need now are good solid wins, and Howard has owned the Ducks. Pwned them, even.
Anaheim has been pretty dismal this season. Okay, really dismal. They own a 6-9-4 record overall, they’re 1-6-3 in their last ten games, and typical scoring threats Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry have been silent. (On the scoresheet, I mean– I’m sure they run their mouths as much as ever.) The Wings thrashed them soundly (5-0) at the Joe on November 5th. There is no reason the Wings can not win this game.
That said, the Ducks should never be taken lightly. Getzlaf, Perry, and Teemu Selanne are more than capable of lighting the lamp. Furthermore, the Ducks will be out for revenge after their thrashing from a few weeks ago, and we’ve seen before that they flip the goon switch when things don’t go their way. Expect rookie Brendan Smith and the ever-Kronwallian Nik Kronwall to be on guard. I’d like to see hard-nosed Mike Commodore in the lineup for that little extra gritty protection, but Mike Babcock isn’t one to change a lineup that won so convincingly yesterday (and quite rightly so).
That’s all I’ve got time for at the moment as real life begins to intrude on my hockey utopia. Go Wings!