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Game Live Blog: Red Wings at Islanders

Pregame: So… Johan Franzen will be our first line center between Danny Cleary and Todd Bertuzzi. I’m… just going to present that as a fact and not attempt to analyze it.

Meanwhile, the Filppula-Zetterberg-Hudler line will be staying intact (and likely seeing a LOT of ice time). The bottom five forwards will be mixed as necessary. Ken Daniels reported that Mike Commodore had been feeling sore and may not even get a shift on the ice.

(Note to the boys: Can you start telling Coach you feel sore WHEN YOU FIRST FEEL SORE instead of waiting until the morning of a road game? We fans would appreciate it.)

1st period:

Both teams kind of feeling each other out early. So far the most interesting parts of the game have been a nice save by Ty Conklin, a misplay by Evgeni Nabokov which almost resulted in a goal by Darren Helm, and the strange ad on the boards for “Dial-A-Bug.” Is this like Dial-a-prayer? What other strange cultural differences are there between the Midwest and Long Island? Can I call and talk to a roly-poly? I was good friends with the roly-polies that lived on my back porch when I was 3.

11:47 Conk has a VERY nice save on Mark Eaton and holds up well to some subsequent Islanders pressure.

7:36 The puck hits the Jumbotron. Stop in play.

4:26 Islanders penalty to Milan Urcina for high sticking Filppula.

2:01 Detroit penalty to Brad Stuart for roughing, plus an extra 2 for unsportsmanlike conduct for slamming the penalty box door.

0:53.0 Goal for Matt Moulson– throws the puck in front of the net and it deflects off Drew Miller’s skate.

0:10.4 Isles penalty to Andy MacDonald, negating the second half of Stuie’s double minor.

Shots were 17 to 8 in favor of the Islanders in the first. Wings won 6 of 15 faceoffs.

2nd period:

19:40 John Tavares hurt by a puck to the face. He’s going to need stitches at the very least.

15:07 Tavares is back on the bench, seemingly none the worse for wear.

12:29 Isles goal for Tavares. Moulson carries the puck up the left wing side on a 3 on 2 rush, drop pass to Tavares, who patiently waits for Conk to commit to a low save, and flips it in.

8:50 Islanders goal for Tavares. Another odd man rush and a pass that shouldn’t have been allowed by the Wings’ defense.

Filppula’s playing a strong game, but it’s just not quite clicking for him.

1:28 Isles goal for Michael Grabner on a partial breakaway. I don’t think I’ve often seen Conk look that irked with his defensemen.

3rd period:

17:24 GOAL for Justin Abdelkader! Jakub Kindl shoots from the blue line and Abby redirects while Tomas Holmstrom screens Nabokov.

14:52 Islanders penalty to Travis Hamonic for high sticking on Helm.

12:25 Detroit penalty to Nik Kronwall for holding.

11:35 Cleary and Helm shorthanded two on one, but Nabby comes up with the save. There could have been a penalty called for cross checking Helm, but no call.

6:03 Islanders goal, Moulson. Tips a shot by Mark Streit while screening Conk.

0:22.9 The Islanders get called for icing and actually bother to call a timeout. Babs is LIVID. Like, seriously, the Islanders coach should check his bed for a horse’s head tonight.

Just kind of a pathetic showing by the whole team, even taking into account Datsyuk being out and Commodore essentially being out (he was on the bench but never actually played). I think we can safely pin this loss on… hmm. Let’s give it to Alex Trebek. If he wasn’t so smug on Jeopardy!, the Wings would have obviously won this game handily.

Next up: The Wings return home to face the Phoenix Coyotes Thursday night at 7:30.

And in conclusion, get well soon, Pasha!

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

We’re going to be seeing a bit of a different look from the Red Wings tonight as they head in to Nassau Coliseum to take on the New York Islanders, partly by necessity and partly by choice.

The choice part is that Ty Conklin will be getting his second straight start in net, after a strong showing in Chicago on Sunday. Jimmy Howard says he isn’t injured and is glad for the extra bit of rest. “It’s definitely good for Ty, it’s good for our team. He played unbelievable in Chicago. Good to get him back in tonight while he’s feeling good about himself. It gives me a chance to go out in practice and work with Jimmy (goaltending coach Bedard). Haven’t gotten a chance to do a lot of that, so it was good out there today.” Conk himself was pleased to get another start. “It’s nice to get another opportunity,” Conklin said. “Jimmy’s played a lot. He’s going to be playing a lot more, too. It’s nice to give him a break and get in there.”

The necessity part, well, the Wings will be lacking Pavel Datsyuk.

Take a deep breath.

The Free Press is reporting that Pasha has a lower body injury, and John Keating of Fox Sports Detroit got more specific on Twitter, calling it a groin injury. Pavel himself, however, says it’s top secret. “It’s secret information. KGB tell me, don’t tell nobody.” All sources, KGB and otherwise, seem unconcerned and expect that our magician will be back in the lineup for Thursday’s game against Phoenix.

Datsyuk’s injury did take the team by surprise– so much so that they didn’t have time to call a forward up from Grand Rapids in time to get to Long Island for the game. They’ll be rolling with eleven forwards and seven defensemen. At one point in practice Mike Commodore was playing forward on the top line with Todd Bertuzzi and Johan Franzen, but Mike Babcock told reporters that was pretty unlikely to happen during the game. If I had to guess I’d say Jonathan Ericsson might see some time as a forward tonight, since he played forward in the Swedish Elite League and only switched to D after being drafted by the Wings and coming to North America.

As for the Islanders, they’ll be starting Evgeni Nabokov in net. Nominal starter Rick DiPietro is, of course, injured, as is nominal backup Al Montoya. Anders Nilsson was called up from the AHL as an emergency backup. The Islanders last outing was a 5-1 loss to Phoenix on Saturday.

Don’t make the mistake of thinking the Islanders will be a cake walk for the Red Wings. Aside from Datsyuk’s wonky groin necessitating a lineup change, the Wings are 0-4-1 against the Isles since the lockout. It’s exactly the kind of game that it’s easy to look past– a non-conference team you only see once a year, who’s generally at or near the bottom of the standings. “The bottom line is you come in here, you look at the standings, you don’t give enough respect, and they got real good players,” said Mike Babcock. “They’re NHL players and they want to win just as bad as anyone else, and we got to get ready.”

And so do we at home. Tonight’s game is on Fox Sports Detroit PLUS– the Pistons are occupying the usual FSD channel.

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

Grudging Admiration

Taking a moment out from pre-Thanksgiving housecleaning to grudgingly admit that I’m really impressed with the play of newly-returned Pittsburgh Penguin Sidney Crosby. The guy sits out with post-concussion syndrome from January 5th to November 21st, then comes in and scores a goal on his first shot and adds two assists (and the game’s not even over yet as I’m writing– they still have one period left to play). So, over ten months of headaches and feeling off in the head, and not being able to be in true game shape, and he jumps back in and is a scoring threat right away? Granted, the New York Islanders are not exactly one of the elite teams in the NHL, but still.

Damn, dude. My hat’s off to you. At least for tonight.

And just as I’m about to hit publish, he scores yet another goal early in the third. Curse you for wringing compliments out of me!

 

That said, this is still my favorite picture of Sid: 

 

Sports are best when you have an arch-enemy, don’t you think? Patrick Roy is long gone, so Crosby it is. And I am glad this arch-enemy’s career was not ended by a ridiculous accidental concussion. I admit it. It’s the same way that I hate that Joe Sakic’s career was ended when he mangled his hand in the snowblower. Guys like that, you want them to go out, but it needs to be in glory. These are not ignominious opponents, these are the guys you respect even while hating them. So therefore: welcome back, Crosby.

Now let me make sure you haven’t scored again before I hit the publish button.