The Wings and Kings play for the second time this season. Thursday, January 7. Another late one, boys and girls. Power nap.
WHAT’S THE BIG IDEA?
1. GOOD NEWS! Henrik Zetterberg and Dan Cleary return. It’s like Christmas on January 7th (which, oddly, it actually is).
2. Jimmy Howard is starting for the seventh time in a row. Chris Osgood inconsolable.
3. The road trip started off great, then it hit a road bump in the suburbs. Getting back on track tonight would be swell.
NOW WHERE WERE WE?
The first meeting between these two clubs was October 15th, the Wings’ sixth game of the season. Detroit won that contest 5-2, improving to .500. After getting yanked in the prior game, Chris Osgood rebounded for the win, and goals were scored by Homer, Ericsson, Maltby, Rafalski, and Zetterberg. Pavel Datsyuk missed the game due to an undisclosed upper body injury.
WHAT’S HAPPENED SINCE THEN
Adversity. Adversity has happened.
OH, HI AGAIN
At the moment, there are no former Red Wings in L.A. The two teams are familiar trade partners the past few seasons, however. Brad Stuart came over for draft picks, and Mathieu Schneider was acquired for spare parts (which included Sean Avery).
The aforementioned Stuart is one of two former Kings on the Red Wings, but he’s the only one that will be in the lineup tonight. Andreas Lilja is the other.
BEST NAME NOMINEE
THEIR LAST GAMES
–Detroit was smoked by Anaheim, 4-1, on Tuesday.
–LA bullwhipped San Jose, 6-2, on Monday.
–Detroit Red Wings :: 21-15-6 (3rd in Central, 9th in West) :: 8-8-4 on the road.
–Los Angeles Quicks :: 25-15-3 (3rd in Pacific, 7th in West) :: 11-5-2 at home.
KINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW
Zetterberg and Cleary return, and the odd men out are Mattias Ritola (who was sent back to Grand Rapids) and Brad May. Ville Leino stays in the press box (good luck getting out now, kid). Depth chart starting to take shape.
Bertuzzi, who made up for his strong two-goal performance last time against Anaheim by playing possibly the worst game of the season, was bumped to the second line. Miller was bumped to the fours.
Zetterberg — Datsyuk — Holmstrom
Bertuzzi — Filppula — Cleary
Draper — Helm — Eaves
Miller — Abdelkader — Maltby
Lidstrom — Rafalski
Stuart — Meech
Lebda — Janik
Andreas “I NOT A MEXICAN” Lilja
Johan “I Totally Paused” Franzen
Jason “Ring a Ding Kid” Williams
Niklas “Yo, What the Hell…You Gettin on the Freeway!” Kronwall
Jonathan “Rollin’ With the Homies” Ericsson
1. James. Tiberius. Howard. Seven in a row. There’s clearly a rift between Uncle Mike and Chris Osgood. Maybe it isn’t a good idea to run your mouth and claim to know more than your coach. Who knew? Anyway, on to a story that matters for the game: will Howard respond to Babcock’s confidence, rebound, and play well — or will he struggle like he did in Anaheim?
2. Chief has a feeling it’s Nick Lidstrom’s night.
3. Z and Cleary might try to make up for lost time. I bet Z nets one.
4. No three-point game, we need a win in regulation. LA is above us in the standings, but not much above, so a two point game, off-set with zero points for the home team, is necessary.
WHAT WE LEARNED vs. the Ducks
Nothing good happens after midnight.
KING WE COVET (JJ Special)
This is a team rife with young talent, and one that’s sure to make sure noise in the coming years. Anze Kopitar is the one name that’s most intriguing to me – and I’d love to see him in Red and White, but the Kings would be retarded to ever let him go.