The Ducks finish up this 7-game road trip in Detroit where the Red Wings are also on a winless streak, winless in their last 6 games for the first time since February of 2008.
The Red Wings are coming off a 4-1 defeat at the hands of Jarome Iginla and the Calgary Flames on Thursday night. It wasn’t a bad performance by the Wings just a few miscues and turnovers led to chances for the Flames and they cashed in on them. But the offense sputtered once again. The Red Wings are averaging just 2.18 goals per game, which was obviously not what Detroit and the entire league were expecting. Dan Cleary got the only goal for the Wings in their loss to the Flames, which was his first of the season. The two big name scorers for the Wings, Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg, have combined for just 4 goals and 8 assists, which is not nearly enough from your top two scorers. They also only have two players with more than 2 goals, Nicklas Lidstrom and Johan Franzen. Veteran Todd Bertuzzi will miss tonight’s game due to an illness, so the Wings have recalled forward Fabian Brunnstrom from their AHL affiliate, Grand Rapids Griffins.
The Ducks are coming off another loss as well, this one in a shoot out to the New York Rangers, however they did get a point which means they have points in back-to-back games which could be important later on in the season. The Ducks did rebound pretty well after the debacle in Washington and played better as the game went along in the Garden. Hiller especially made some huge saves but he got little offensive support as Henrik Lundqvist for the Rangers was also on his game that night. Tonight marks the NHL Debut of young center Peter Holland who got the call in time for him to be available tonight for the Ducks, he will be replacing Nick Bonino who is suffering from a hyper-extended knee. It is believed he will center a line with fellow youngsters Brandon McMillan and Devante Smith-Pelly, I wish that was Emerson Etem rather than Smith-Pelly but you can’t always get what you want. My personal problem with the Ducks is that they are currently among the worst teams in shots on goal per game as well as faceoff percentage. Now, you’re not going to score if you don’t put the puck on the net. You get enough shots, they’re going to start going in at some point, but that’s just my personal opinion.
Players to Watch:
- DET – G – Jimmy Howard: Even though the Red Wings are struggling big time, Howard is not struggling at all. He currently has a 1.99 goals per game average along with .920 save percentage.
- DET – F – Pavel Datsyuk: No matter how much the Red Wings struggle, you can never take your eyes off of this guy. One of the most talented players in the league and arguably the best overall player in the league.
- ANA – F – Teemu Selanne: 10 points in his last 6 games and he is probably the only Duck to match or exceed expectations on the offensive side.
- ANA – G – Jonas Hiller: I expect him to start after the way he played against the Rangers. Why? Because when you have a struggling goalie, I feel like after a game where he plays very well, why would you deny him a chance to find his game?
At this point, both these teams are so unpredictable that I don’t think I can get a clear feeling on how this game will go tonight. I’m interested to see what Holland can do when given the chance but I wouldn’t think he’d get too much ice time. However, these two teams have had a history of some good games, so, I wanna see a good game and maybe both the offenses will come to life tonight, maybe, maybe not.
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Topics: Anaheim Ducks, Brandon McMillan, Dan Cleary, Detroit Red Wings, Devante Smith-Pelly, Fabian Brunnstrom, Henrik Zetterberg, Jimmy Howard, Johan Franzen, Jonas Hiller, Nicklas Lidstrom, Pavel Datsyuk, Peter Holland, Teemu Selanne