[SBN Red Wings blog - Winging it in Motown]
Record: 35-23-13 (8th in the West)
Scorers: Pavel Datsyuk (23g, 37a), Henrik Zetterberg (20g, 40a), Nik Lidstrom (8g, 35a)
What is it about the Detroit Red Wings? Their season started off with a brash number of injuries, their first-string goalie Chris Osgood took a seat behind Jimmy Howard and yet still - STILL - they remain in the playoff hunt. Now, with Calgary's 4-3 loss to Minnesota last night, the Red Wings have a chance to pull ahead by three or four points by the end of tonight's game. With 11 games remaining on the schedule, Detroit is looking at about five more wins to guarantee a playoff berth.
Frankly, a healthy Red Wings roster landing the eighth seed is just about as scary a first round opponent for the Western Conference leader. One can argue whether or not the age of the Wings could come back to haunt them in the later rounds, but for at least one round Detroit has the potential to be a certifiable threat. And when it comes to eight seeds, that's not the sort of thing a top team wants to hear.
If the playoffs started today, Chicago would come out on top and draw Detroit in the first round. Given Chicago's recent goaltending issues, season-ending injuries to Brian Campbell and the team's 1-2-2 record over the last five, I think it's safe to say that has the makings of an upset written all over it.
Jimmy Howard is simply on fire this month. How good, you ask? How about 7-2-1 sort of good. This could be problematic, but let's not head into this one thinking he's unbeatable. After all, similar to Pittsburgh's Marc-Andre Fleury, Howard has only one shutout this season.
Back on January 31, when these two teams first met since the Stanley Cup Finals (minus an irrelevant preseason game), Pittsburgh came out on top in a 2-1 shootout win. For an NBC game it was just about as low scoring and boring as any TV exec would fear, but at the least it ended with one of the hailed and hyped shootouts that tend to draw constant debates. Plus you may remember Winging it in Motown had a pretty solid Haiti Relief thread going down at the time.
If you've grown tired of hearing constant references to the Staal brothers, then at least prepare yourself in advance for tonight's reptitious mentions of this game posing as a Stanley Cup Finals rematch. Plus, it's on Versus so you can more or less bank on that.
Puck and thread at 7pm. Come on by and chat it up.