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Game Live Blog, Red Wings at Flyers

Pregame: Now that Mark Howe has been properly honored with his jersey being retired by the Flyers, we can get on to the game!

1st period:

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.

Ouch.

2nd 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.

3rd period:

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.

Detroit timeout.

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.

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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.

Game Preview, Sharks at Red Wings, 12:30 PM

Good morning! Who’s ready for some early afternoon hockey?

The Red Wings are looking for some personal validation as the Sharks come in to town. Think about it. They’re on top of the NHL standings. They’ve won 22 straight at home. They’re staying ahead of the competitive Blues and Predators in the tight Central Division race. But they haven’t yet beaten the Sharks. Five straight regular season games (two already played this season). Two straight playoff eliminations.

The motivation today should be not so much to keep the home win streak going as it is to beat the Sharks for the sake of their own heads.

Drew Miller agrees. “They’re the team that put us out of the playoffs; it leaves a bitter taste in your mouth. You definitely want to continue the streak, but I think there’s going to be extra energy to beat them.” Joey MacDonald added, “We don’t want to see these guys come in and push us around.”

As Mike Babcock put it, “It must be time to say enough’s enough.”

The Red Wings will put off their Goaltending Conundrum for one more game; MacDonald will be starting this afternoon, giving Jimmy Howard a couple of extra days for his broken finger to heal up. Joey Mac, as you can imagine, is more than happy to get another chance to shine. “The coaching staff have the confidence to throw me out there again against another good hockey team. I just gotta keep building on them and take advantage of the opportunity.”

Howard and Danny Cleary are both expected to return Tuesday against Chicago. No other injury changes to report; Tomas Tatar has been reassigned to the Griffins. I’d expect Babs to go with the same line configurations he’s been using with the possible exception of swapping Mike Commodore for Jakub Kindl. A little added sandpaper against San Jose could never be a bad thing.

Sharks coach Todd McLellan says his team would certainly love to be the one that ends the historic winning streak, but that they don’t need any extra motivation against Detroit. “We could use that as a motivating tool, but I think there’s enough between the two teams that you wouldn’t approach it any other way if it were the first game of the season.”

San Jose is likely to be playing like a team desperate for points; they lead the Pacific Division, but they’re only two points up on the suddenly surging Phoenix Coyotes (albeit with three games in hand). They’ve lost their last two, 3-2 to Carolina on Friday and 6-5 (OT) to Tampa Bay on Thursday. Yahoo! Sports claims the biggest problem has been the inconsistent play of goalie Antti Niemi, quoting McLellan as saying, “He wasn’t any good. I protect him… and talk about the team. He has to be better. Flat out, has to be better.” Niemi is likely to start today, however, given his past successes against Detroit. The Sharks will be without left winger Marty Havlat (torn hamstring) and defenseman Jason Demers (lower body), and may also be without defenseman Douglas Murray. Murray took a puck to the throat (!!!!) during the Sharks’ game against the Lightning. Initial reports claimed his Adam’s apple was fractured (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!), but later testing showed that to be not the case.

What I hope to see today from the Wings is same sort of efficient, relentless play they displayed against the Stars last Tuesday. Patient. Insistent. Unyielding.

Like, oh, I don’t know, a carpet shark eating a bamboo shark.

NBC (proper network NBC, not NBCSN/Versus) will have the game for you as part of their Hockey Day In America coverage; however, FSD’s Ken Daniels will be doing the play by play with Darren Pang as his color commentary partner.

Let’s go, Red Wings! *clap clap clapclapclap*

Game Preview, Predators at Red Wings, 7:30 PM

Tonight the Wings seek to extend their home win streak to 22 when they host the Nashville Predators.

We could possibly expect a letdown tonight after the euphoric madness of Tuesday’s win over Dallas, but the Wings are adamant that their real goal– favorable positioning in the standings for a long playoff run– is their main focus. “It’s cool to be part of history, but at the same time there’s no point we can just sit down and relax,” said Niklas Kronwall. “You lose a few games and all the sudden you’re in trouble. We have to keep it going and take advantage of the opportunity we have with the homestand.”

Justin Abdelkader agrees. “The West is tough, all of the top teams just seem to keep winning. Even though we’ve been winning, there’s no separation. Nashville and St. Louis just keep winning. It’s a battle. Wins in the division are going to be important.”

The Wings may be without Henrik Zetterberg tonight; Z is nursing a lower body injury. At first it was reported that he’d be out for sure tonight, but now the Freep is reporting that after today’s optional morning skate he considers himself a game time decision. Tomas Tatar has been recalled from the Griffins. If Hank can’t go, Tatar will skate on the fourth line with Cory Emmerton and Jan Mursak, and Justin Abdelkader will be promoted to the second line with Jiri Hudler and Valtteri Filppula. (Filppula will play center.) Tomas Holmstrom will take Abdelkader’s spot on the third line with Darren Helm and Drew Miller.

Danny Cleary has been skating but probably won’t return to  the lineup until Tuesday’s game at Chicago.

Jimmy Howard is slated to return Sunday against the Sharks, which leaves us with a bit of a goaltending controversy. Who’s going to be sent to the Griffins, Joey MacDonald or Ty Conklin? Ken Holland stated bluntly, “Right now, Joey is the No. 2 guy.” On one hand, Joey Mac’s stats are inarguably superior to Conk’s. But on the other hand, Conk would have to clear waivers before being assigned to the Griffins. This close to the trade deadline, teams are certainly on the hunt for cheap veteran goalies, and Kenny Holland isn’t the sort of guy who likes to lose assets for nothing. MacDonald, having a two-way contract, would not have to clear waivers. It’s also possible that the Wings could carry all three goalies on the active roster, but Holland said that’s “not an ideal option.” My feeling is that the Wings will send Joey Mac to the Griffins. Not only does this eliminate the possibility of losing a player for nothing, but it also means Joey will be playing frequently rather than sitting on the bench charting faceoffs while Howard gets the majority of the starts, keeping him in game shape in case he’s needed later in the season or in the playoffs. I won’t say Holland has never surprised me with a move before, but this scenario seems pretty likely to me.

Nashville currently sits in third place in the Central, eight points behind Detroit and five behind St. Louis.

The Predators will be without center Blake Geoffrion, as they just traded him to Montreal for defenseman Hal Gill. Nashville will also be without wingers Brian McGratton and Patric Hornqvist (both upper body injuries). Adding Gill to a blue line which already includes Shea Weber and Ryan Suter would indicate that the Preds intend on making some real noise in the playoffs this year. As for the threat Nashville poses to Detroit, tonight, I’ll let Mike Babcock say it for me: “Their goaltending is spectacular. The last two games their goalie’s been unbelievable. You get 30 minutes out of (Ryan) Suter and (Shea) Weber, and that’s the core of their group. They got two responsible centers in (David) Legwand and (Mike) Fisher. I like their team. I always hear every year how they’re overachieving, but every year I look at a team that looks pretty good to me.”

Just to be safe, I did start goalie Pekka Rinne for my fantasy team again tonight. It’s worked two times out of three so far this season, right?

Fox Sports Detroit Plus will have the game for you. My internet connection has been kind of spotty and weird today, so I may or may not have a live blog this time. I’ll do what I can.

Let’s go, Red Wings! *clap clap clapclapclap*

Game Preview, Stars at Red Wings, 7:30 PM

You know, with all the excitement about the possibility of the Wings breaking the NHL consecutive home wins record by extending the streak to 21 tonight, I haven’t actually seen much about the game itself. Let’s see what we can find…

Mike Babcock says they practiced as if it’s just an ordinary game. “We’re going to get ready like we always do and focus on the process, and if we do good things, good things usually happen.” Henrik Zetterberg, meanwhile, says that trying to extend the streak has not gotten the team lost in hype but has instead helped them focus on playing to win. “If we want to be No. 1 in our division, we have to keep winning games. I think that helps, and now definitely, too, the streak is helping. If we made it this far, we want to have a chance to take it by ourselves tonight.”

Detroit plans on going with the same lineup they used against Anaheim and Philadelphia. Joey MacDonald will be starting.

In injury news, Danny Cleary had some more fluid drained from his knee today and hopes to resume skating in practice tomorrow. Jimmy Howard will be back by Sunday’s game against San Jose, according to Babcock, and may even be back by Friday’s game against Nashville. Johan Franzen had to have some adjustments made to one of his skates to accomodate a sore ankle, but he skated in the optional skate this morning and will definitely be in tonight.

The Stars will be without their captain, left winger Brendan Morrow, who is on injured reserve with a back injury. They may also be missing defenseman Sheldon Souray (foot). Kari Lehtonen will most likely be the starting goaltender. Dallas currently sits in 11th place in the Western Conference, trailing 8th place Phoenix by 4 points. They would certainly not be considering themselves out of playoff contention at this point and will be pretty likely to fight and claw for every point they can get.

So… here we go. The stage is set. Fox Sports Detroit Plus has the game for you.

Let’s go, Red Wings! *clap clap clapclapclap*

Game Preview, Flyers at Red Wings, 7:30 PM

Nineteen was great, so let’s go for twenty.

Tonight the Red Wings try to tie the NHL record of 20 straight home wins when they host the Philadelphia Flyers.

Mike Babcock swears the record hasn’t been on the team’s minds, but right here on the threshold of the record? “I like the points more than anything,” Babs said. “But when you can have a record, you might as well tie it … [and] see if you can break it. But Philly’s going to be a tough opposition for us.” Coach added that he is NOT happy with the Wings’ effort in the 2-1 shootout win over Anaheim Friday night. “We’ve found ways to grind out games with good goaltending and defense and yet we think we can be better than we’ve been, and we have to be.”

Jakub Kindl, meanwhile, is most excited about his first opportunity to play against his childhood idol, Jaromir Jagr. “If I get the chance to be out there against him, I just gotta be good defensively. He’s usually a very strong guy on the puck, especially one-on-one.” Kindl hopes to get a souvenir stick from Jagr. “It feels kind of awkward for me even asking. I’m going to have to find a way somehow.”

The Red Wings will be going with the same lineup they used on Friday night. Danny Cleary remains sidelined while he recovers from a cortisone injection to his left knee. Jimmy Howard has resumed stopping shots in practice, but remains out while his broken finger heals up a bit more. Both plan on being back in the lineup for Friday night’s game against Nashville. Joey MacDonald will most likely be getting the start this evening.

The Flyers could be without goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov, who missed Philly’s game yesterday against the New York Rangers (a 5-2 loss) with the flu. Bryzgalov did make the trip to Detroit, but Sergei Bobrovsky is more likely to get the start. They may also be missing Jakub Voracek, who left yesterday’s game with an upper body injury. Center Blair Betts (lower body) and winger James Van Riemsdyk (concussion) will definitely be out, as of course will defenseman Chris Pronger, who has missed most of the season with knee and concussion issues.

The Flyers are likely to be feeling extremely frustrated after yesterday’s loss and should come out playing hard. Defenseman Kimmo Timonen called his teammates out yesterday. “To be honest, I think we had half the guys going, half the guys not. That was my opinion. You might have seen differently, but that’s what I saw. It was a big game for us, and I was expecting more.”

The 20 game home win record Detroit is trying to tie this evening is held jointly by the 1975-76 Flyers and the 1929-30 Bruins, so I’d also expect the Flyers to have that in mind during the game. This is likely to be a big test for Joey Mac and by extension, a test of the Wings’ ability to win games against playoff-caliber teams without Howard in net. On the other hand, the Joe has not been a friendly place to Philadelphia over the past several years; true, they did win there last year, but prior to that they were 0-16-2 in Detroit, going back to November of 1988 (including the 1997 Stanley Cup Finals).

It should be a tight one, at any rate.

I won’t have a game blog for you this evening, since I won’t be online. You can find the game on NBC Sports/Versus.

Let’s go, Red Wings! *clap clap clapclapclap*

Game Preview, Oilers at Red Wings, 7:30 PM, with bonus other stuff!

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!

Game Preview, Red Wings at Coyotes, 8:00 PM

Okay, I go on vacation for a few days and you guys break our goalie while I’m gone? This is why we can’t have nice things!

(As an aside, I got the news about Jimmy Howard’s broken finger while I was using the restroom at a sports-themed restaurant that has televisions in the restroom. I happened to glance up just in time to see the info go across the news crawl at the bottom of the screen. The other women who were in the restroom are probably still wondering why a big Vader-style “NOOOOOOOO!” came out of one stall.)***

As you probably know, Mike Babcock was, shall we say, less than impressed with Ty Conklin’s performance against the Oilers on Saturday. He was, however, impressed by Joey MacDonald giving the Wings a chance to win after Conk was pulled, so Joey Mac will be getting the start tonight against Phoenix. MacDonald sounds like he’s ready to take advantage of the opportunity. “I didn’t sign here to be down in Grand Rapids,” he said. “You got to keep working hard wherever you are and when you get the opportunity, take advantage of it.”

Brad Stuart is listed as “probable” (flu). (How many of us could have flu and still play a hockey game, or, really, do anything beyond traveling from bed to bathroom and back again?!?) Danny Cleary is also listed as probable with a sore left knee. (This will be Cleary’s 800th career game.)

Per MLive, the starting lines are as follows:

Franzen-Datsyuk-Bertuzzi
Filppula-Zetterberg-Hudler
Miller-Helm-Cleary
Emmerton-Abdelkader-Holmstrom
Lidstrom-White
Kronwall-Stuart
Ericsson-Kindl

Jan Mursak and Mike Commodore are ready to step in for Cleary and/or Stuart if need be.

Power play improvement is going to be key; Detroit was 0 for 4 on Saturday and only 6 for 65 in the past 22 games. “Our power play hadn’t been wearing on the other team, hadn’t been grinding, grinding, grinding, spending two minutes in the zone,” Babcock said. “Motion and not taking the shots,” captain Nicklas Lidstrom added. “Sometimes we’re guilty of making that extra pass. When we get the shot through, we have to get the puck back. That’s been one of our problems, too, puck retrieval.”

The Coyotes are fighting for the 8th playoff spot, and they’re coming off a strong 5-3 win against San Jose on Saturday. Detroit has won all three of their games against Phoenix so far this season, so undoubtedly the Coyotes will have that somewhere in the back of their minds as well. Mike Smith is expected to get the start in net.

Tonight’s game will be on NBCSN, the network formerly known as Versus. 8:00 for broadcast start time.

Let’s go, Red Wings! *clap clap clapclapclap*

 

*** The “NOOOOOOO!” part didn’t really happen, but the rest of it did.

Special Guest Blogger Game Preview: Red Wings at Canadiens, 7:30 PM

Blogger’s note: I JUST got home from work. So knowing how late I would be, I asked Special Guest Blogger Fake Todd Bertuzzi (@fakebertuzzi44 on Twitter) to fill in with the game preview. I’ll have my head back on straight in time to do the live blog a little later! 

Guest blogger Fake Todd Bertuzzi here, reporting in with today’s game preview.

Tonight, the Habs. I’m fairly sure that’s French for “The Haves”, but they way things are going, I’m changing their name to the Habnots. They’re 4th in the Northeast, 12th in conference, and riding a princely 1-game winning streak.  The men of Detroit are first in division, conference, NHL, possibly world at the moment, 7 straight wins.

Lineup for the Canadiens is a bit on the depleted side, with Moen out with an upper body injury, and Nokelainen, Gionta, Bishop, B. Nash, Ryan White and Markov all sitting on IR. Cole and Pacioretty are doing reasonably well this year, over 30 points each for the season. Drops off quickly, though- Cole, Pacioretty, Plekanec and Desharnais are over 30, fifth is Cammalleri with 22, then a host of sub-20 guys.

Detroit’s lineup has Kindl in for Commodore, possibly so he can catch another nap on the plane, or work on that impressive ‘fro.  Stuart’s in after a missed practice yesterday.  Lids might be out- minor flu symptoms, but it looks likely he will play. (Blogger’s note: It’s been confirmed that Captain Nick will be out tonight.) Commie’s in otherwise. No word yet on the lines, but I’ll probably be alongside Dats and Mule, which works for me. Now if only Mule would learn the Maytag…

Starters look like James Tiberius Howard III to improve on his Vezina campaign, and Carey “Shoot it into his chest to build his confidence” Price.

I’m sitting at 299 goals. I would have liked it to be Monday with the home crowd, but the Bell Centre will do!

Now, if I may step on my soapbox…

Montreal, I expect better. Trading Cammalleri during the Bruins game? That’s just classless, and even this reforming goon knows it! At least man up enough to do the trade after the game.

Didn’t get the fight I wanted during the Blues game, but I’m thinking of one tonight. Need let off the leash a bit. Goal, fight, maybe I can join Pavs with the Gordie Howe Hat Trick.

Now to keep Scott Gomez’s scoreless streak going!

He’s 0 for his last 54 games. 353 days, 20 hours, 53 minutes as of this writing. 948 minutes of ice time.   He’s even depriving Montrealers of free booze- there’s a pool hall in Montreal that offers free shots when Gomez scores.

I didn’t know Gomez was Carrie Nation in disguise.

Game Preview, Red Wings at Coyotes, 9:00 PM

We may be seeing some sunburned Swedes on the ice tonight. This writer, a Scots-Irish-Swedish-American, sympathizes.

After a day off yesterday, the Red Wings will attempt to continue improving their road record against the Coyotes at the Jobing.com Arena. The Wings lead the season series 2-0; both previous games were in Detroit.

The only lineup change to report is the standard swap– Cory Emmerton and Jakub Kindl will be back in the lineup in place of Jan Mursak and Mike Commodore. Jimmy Howard will be starting. Mike Babcock wants the boys to focus on playing as well on the road as they have at home. “You got to play good without the puck if you’re going to be successful. Then you have the puck all the time and you have lots of offense. We’ve been able to do that at home and committed to doing that. We haven’t been on the road.”

At the Phoenix end of the rink, MLive’s Ansar Khan reports that Mike Smith will be in net this evening. This surprises me, actually– the Coyotes dropped a 6-2 decision to Anaheim last night with Smith in net. Coach Dave Tippett is apparently going with the “if you fall off the horse get right back on again” philosophy of goaltending. Center Martin Hanzal, who has been on injured reserve with an upper body injury, may play tonight; he’s listed as a game time decision.

Otherwise, we know Phoenix pretty well, don’t we? Watch for Shane Doan to throw his weight around and Keith Yandle to be a scoring threat from the blue line, and do not look past them to the next game. After an embarrassing loss last night, the Coyotes are likely to want to send a message. On the other hand, this is the second of back to back games for them. If the Wings press hard early to take advantage of any Coyote sluggishness and play a steady, slightly gritty defensive road game throughout, they should be heading home with a win and another two points.

Let’s go, Red Wings! *clap clap clapclapclap*