Pregame: Now that Mark Howe has been properly honored with his jersey being retired by the Flyers, we can get on to the game!
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.
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.
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.
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.
(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.)
Pearce (charting faceoffs)
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.
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*