Pregame: The longest home win streak ever to happen in the NHL is 20 games, achieved by the 75-76 Flyers and the 29-30 Bruins. The Red Wings currently sit at 17.
Ken and Mick talking about the scoring prowess of the Oilers’ Sam Gagner and Jordan Eberle.
The Oilers have the worst road record in the League, having lost 14 of the last 15. Therefore, my Red Wings, DON’T LOOK PAST THEM!
14:54 Nikolai Khabibulin looked very clumsy attempting to make that stick save. Hopefully this bodes well for Detroit’s scoring chances.
13:57 FIGHT! Justin Abdelkader takes on Ryan Jones. Jones wound up on top when they fell to the ice, but they got in an approximately equal number of punches.
Abby gets an extra two minute penalty for cross-checking. Wings shorthanded. Todd Bertuzzi serving the minor while Abby serves the fighting major.
10:12 Excellent scoring chance for The Todd from Johan Franzen, but he misses the net.
7:50 Holding the stick penalty to Eric Belanger. Let’s go, power play!
Some delay while a piece of glass is replaced.
6:42 GOAL for Mule! Deflects a shot by Ian White while screening Khabibulin.
4:33 Holding penalty to Cory Emmerton.
3:47 Boarding call to Brad Stuart. 1:14 of 5-on-3. Come on, Joey Mac!
Henrik Zetterberg, Jonathan Ericsson (!!!), and Niklas Kronwall did an excellent job on the 5-on-3; the Oilers didn’t even get a shot on net!
Okay, shots only 5-4 this period (Detroit’s favor). This is probably why Joey Mac slid out and grabbed a shot that was going wide with about 30 seconds left– he was bored!
17:15 GOAL for Emmerton! Abby tries to stuff the puck short side, all the Oilers go after him, and Cory streaks in and gets the rebound.
14:49 Tripping penalty to Ladislav Smid.
8:52 Goal for Gagner. Danny Cleary gets hit by Ben Eager, Ericsson lets up on the play to bring some wrath to Eager, and it lets Gagner get in alone on MacDonald.
5:43 Boarding penalty to Belanger.
4:31 Goalie interference call to (who else) Tomas Holmstrom. Gee, sure looked like Ryan Whitney shoved him in there…
1:26 Detroit penalty for too many men on the ice, served by The Todd.
Shots 15 to 5 for the Wings in the 2nd. That’s better! Now, can we protect Joey Mac for the rest of the game?
John Keating reporting in intermission report that Cleary will be missing the rest of the game with a “lower body injury.” A pox on you, Ben Eager. You hurt our Newfie.
15:47 Tripping penalty to Ales Hemsky.
12:29 Tripping penalty to Abby.
11:37 Possible second goal for Gagner– it bounced in and out so quickly that it’s being reviewed carefully.
And… it’s a real goal.
9:14 GOAL for Drew Miller! Hard work crash the net goal by Miller, Abby, and Darren Helm. That’s 4 goals in 4 games for Miller against Edmonton this season.
5:16 GOAL for Hank! Khabibulin had dropped low to deal with Jiri Hudler’s shot, then can’t quite scramble over in time to block Z’s rebound.
4:18 Tripping penalty to White.
1:53 Edmonton calls their timeout.
Khabibulin out of the net for an extra skater.
Shots 10-8 for Detroit in the 3rd, for a total of 30-17. There’s one way to outplay your opponent!
Next up: The Wings try to take the home winning streak to 19 games Friday night when the Anaheim Ducks come to town.
Okay, you guys, you know how we all know already that the 2013 Winter Classic is going to be Red Wings vs Maple Leafs at Michigan Stadium? And you know how we already know that the U of M Board of Regents approved the stadium lease to the NHL (even including beer sales)? Gary Bettman is finally ready to announce the Worst Kept Secret In Hockey (TM) tomorrow! Let’s all act surprised so the funny little troll feels gratified, okay? I know we boo him every time he shows up. Let’s throw him a bone for once. Keeps him on his toes.
Meanwhile, in the Wings’ training room… Jimmy Howard doesn’t have any real updates on his broken finger. “I got nothing for you,” he said, laughing, to reporters. “I’ve seen a doctor. I saw him this morning. It was the same news as before – it’s just going to take a little while to heal.” Tiberius did admit that he is a little concerned about losing some of his timing if he doesn’t get back in quickly. “Ideally, I’d really love a couple of good practices before I get in there,’’ Howard said. “It’s been seven days now, the timing can go away. Every single day my finger is getting better. One thing the doctor said was I’m lucky being young enough where the bone is going to (heal) faster. Hopefully by the end of the week I’m out there taking shots.”
So let’s move on to what we need to know for tonight’s game against Edmonton.
Joey MacDonald will be our starting goalie this evening. Danny Cleary will play in spite of a sore knee, and Brad Stuart has recovered sufficiently from his flu bug to play. (Meaning that Mike Commodore will be a healthy scratch.) Pavel Datsyuk will play, but will be taking only the very barest minimum of faceoffs. “He’s got a – I don’t even know – hand, wrist, forearm,” explained Mike Babcock. “He just doesn’t feel like he should take (faceoffs) right now. He can take them at key times of the game if we need him. We’re just going to back him off for a bit and get him ready to go.”
Furthermore, this will be Tomas Holmstrom’s 999th career game– not bad for the guy Scotty Bowman expected to send back to Sweden in 1998. (For those who don’t know the story, Homer told reporters he picked jersey number 96 for his draft year, and Scotty commented that he should have picked 98 instead because that’s the year he’d be done in the NHL and going back to Sweden. Even genius coaches are wrong on occasion.)
As well, the Wings are looking to extend their home winning streak to 18 games. This is the first of a six game homestand, and to say the Joe has been friendly to the Red Wings this year is an understatement. These next six games are going to be of great value to stash away points to help guarantee home ice advantage through most (or even all!) rounds of the playoffs.
The Oilers will have head coach Tom Renney back behind the bench tonight. Renney had to sit out for Monday’s 6-3 loss against Toronto after taking a puck to the head in practice that morning. Renney actually had to take the same concussion baseline tests the players do when they get knocked in the head. “Failed it twice. It’s a good thing they had the Coke machine in Toronto or I would not have known who we played last.” The coach estimated that he had to get 12 stitches to close up the cut and thinks he’ll be okay behind the bench tonight. “I’ll be fine … if I don’t yell.”
Nikolai Khabibulin is expected to start in net. Defenseman Tom Gilbert will be back in the lineup after healing his injured ankle, but Calder-candidate Ryan Nugent-Hopkins will most likely be out due to a sore shoulder.
Fox Sports Detroit has our coverage for this one, 7:30 start time.
Let’s go, Red Wings! *clap clap clapclapclap*
Late update: Make that Fox Sports Detroit PLUS, not regular FSD!
Pregame: Ken and Murph are full of praise for Ian White and his surprisingly beastly defense (beastly being a compliment in this context) and the Oil’s rookie Ryan Nugent-Hopkins.
Jimmy Howard and Nikolai Khabibulin starting, as predicted. Khabibulin’s stretches look oddly violent.
16:35 good scoring chances by Brad Stuart and Henrik Zetterberg, after Oilers controlled much of early play but didn’t really threaten Howard much.
15:27 Goal for Danny Cleary! Jakub Kindl outraces Oiler’s defense to the puck and gets a shot away, Cleary in front of net to tip it in. The third line is on fire!
12:09 Howard freezes the puck after good pressure/scoring chances by Erik Belanger and Ryan Jones.
10:42 Apparently 6 different Wings have blocked attempted shots already, per reporter Bill Roose on Twitter.
8:53 Khabibulin makes a good save on a Justin Abdelkader semi-breakaway.
6:53 EXCELLENT save by Howard on a Taylor Hall breakaway!
6:15 Hooking penalty to Jonathan Ericsson, but it may have saved a goal, certainly a scoring chance. Not the kind of penalty a coach yells too hard at the player for.
5:30 Shot off the post by Hall! Cleared away by Cleary.
5:12 Going to have some 5-on-3 time. White going to box. Come on guys, discipline.
3:12 They did it! Some good scoring chances by Oilers, crash the net style. Howard looking solid.
0:01 Some good scoring attempts by Val Filppula and Jiri Hudler just as the period ends. Khabibulin looked uncomfortable.
17:23 Oilers goal by Jones. Gets an almost-breakaway, Kindl can’t box him out, goes 5-hole on Howard. Assist by Ladislav Smid.
14:39 Good defensive play by Brad Stuart to break up a scoring chance by Jordan Eberle.
13:51 Penalty to Drew Miller for interference, for being run over at center. Nice job, refs.
11:22 Oilers penalty to Ben Eager. He’s not to EAGER to go in the box! Lol. Okay, I’ll stop that now.
5:24 Goal by Hudler! Hudler screening Khabibulin, Zetterberg lets the shot go and Hudler tips it 5-hole.
2:01 Big save by Howard on Eberle. Look how square he stays to the shooter!
1:38 Khabibulin returns the favor on Kindl at the other end.
0:43.7 Penalty to Ericsson. He kind of picks up Smyth & twists him down to the ground. Sigh.
0:00.5 Oilers goal by Eberle, HARD shot past screened Howard.
On replay, that goal absolutely should have not occurred– the play should have been called down on an offside.
14:50 Cory Emmerton appears to be injured slightly.
14:38 High sticking penalty to Shawn Horcoff for accidentally smacking Pavel Datsyuk in the face while trying to make a defensive play.
9:30 Emmerton’s back on the ice, so apparently the injury wasn’t much of a problem.
4:16 GOAL for either Miller or Cleary! Both were in front of the net, and someone tipped a Lidstrom shot. Ken and Murph think it’s Miller at this point.
3:02 Delay of game penalty to Nik Kronwall for deflecting the puck over the glass.
1:44 Khabibulin out of net for extra attacker, 6 on 4.
0:03.4 Howard makes a save but the faceoff comes back to the Oilers’ zone. Khabibulin has to come back to the net.
Final score, Wings 3, Oilers 2.
Tonight the Red Wings try to take some of their recent home success on the road as they face the Oilers in Edmonton in the first game of a three-game Western Canada trip.
Detroit’s home record (13-2-1) is the best in the NHL, but they’re only 7-8 on the road. “We skate, and start on time, and play on our toes,” coach Mike Babcock said when asked why the home record is so much better than the road record. “We have to play the same way on the road.”
Babcock does not plan any changes for the Wings’ lineup tonight. (This may be the most stable set of line combinations we’ve seen since Babs took over as head coach!) Jimmy Howard gets the start in net.
The Oilers have been in a bit of a slump recently. They had a strong start to the season, but they’re 2-7-1 in their last ten games and have lost three straight. The Oilers are comprised largely of very young players like Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Taylor Hall who provide a lot of energy and offensive threat when things are going well, so it could be interesting to see how such an inexperienced lineup responds to the adversity of a midseason slump. Nikolai Khabibulin (certainly not on the list of young players, but still an impressive goalie at age 38) will be starting. Khabibulin sat out two games and two practices last week, generating speculation that he was injured, but coach Tom Renney said it was only a fatigue issue.
Since this is the first late game since I started this blog, I’m going to try something a little different tonight. Instead of doing a recap after the game (because I do have to get some sleep before going to my day job tomorrow!), I’m going to try doing a live blog and update the article with new plays as they occur. It will be kind of like my Twitter feed, only with more game focus and less random banter with parody players. (Although bantering with parody players makes for a delightful game-watching experience.)
Let’s go, Red Wings! *clap clap clapclapclap*