Phoenix Coyotes (4-5-4) @ Detroit Red Wings (8-3-1)
The Wings return home after a solid west coast road trip. Four out of six points isn't bad, but it's one day off to travel and a quick turn around with a home game on national TV against those pesky Coyotes. The Wings lost 4-2 last time these two met (Osgood was in net). The big news of the day though is the return of Brian Rafalski. Raf has been out for the last four weeks. It will be good to have another puck moving veteran defenseman in the line-up.
THE EXPECTED LINE-UP
Pavel Datsyuk - Henrik Zetterberg - Tomas Holmstrom
Johan Franzen - Valtteri Filppula - Todd Bertuzzi
Justin Abdelkader - Mike Modano - Danny Cleary
Jiri Hudler - Darren Helm - Patrick Eaves
Nicklas Lidstrom - Brad Stuart
Niklas Kronwall - Ruslan Salei
Johnathon Ericsson - Brian Rafalski
Jimmy Howard (starting)
In the press box: Drew Miller (healthy scratch), Jakub Kindl (healthy scratch) and Chris Osgood (groin)
On LTIR: Kris Draper (groin)
WHAT TO WATCH FOR
- Rafalski is back and the defensive pairings have been shuffled. I'll be honest, a returning Rafalski with Big Rig is not what I had in mind. I like the way Ericsson has been playing along side Lidstrom and I expected to see Raf pairing with Salei or Stuart. Of course, In Babcock We Trust. I'm sure the pairings will be shuffled during the game if the combinations aren't working.
- Can the third line (Abby/Modano/Cleary) keep up their great play?
- Where is the Lumberjack Line? I wish we could have all four lines clicking at once. As soon as the third line clicked and started rolling, the second line stopped producing. Mule and Bert need to get back on track.
- Jimmy's streak of consecutive starts without a regulation loss as ended. It's time to start a new streak.
- Jiri Hudler. Score a goal. Seriously...Do it...Do it........................Do it. (This is staying here too until Scuttles scores a goal)
- Shane Doan is out tonight. Sadly, no Doan Face.
It was a quiet weekend for Smith, but a decent weekend for the Griffins. On Saturday, Grand Rapids defeated the Chicago Wolves 4-2. Smith was held off the score sheet and finished the night minus-1. He also stayed out of the penalty box. On Sunday, the Griffs travels to Cleveland to take on the Lake Erie Monsters. Grand Rapids won 4-3 in a shootout. Smith was a minus-2 on the night with two shots and not penalty minutes. He also did not score in his shootout attempt. In the three games this weekend, Smith had a goal, assist, no penalty minutes, and was a minus-3. Not too bad of a weekend. The Griffins are now 7-3-0-2 and second in the North Division. They host the Milwaukee Admirals on Wednesday.
Well, the Boylston Cup was ugly...but fun. We lost 12-2. Considering that last time we played Berklee we lost 13-0, I would say that's an improvement. I started the game on defense, but by the end of the game I was playing wing on the top line. The third period was where the game got fun. We were down like 9-0 and on my first shift on the top line we scored our team's first goal of the season. I had an assist on the play. My next shift, some clown wearing 93 was hit by our defensemen. He landed on top of our D man and started punching him. So naturally, I jumped in and took out 93. He got two solid punches to my head and I got a nice punch and elbow to his gut. We were both tossed from the game. At the end of the day, we lost, but hey, I was a goal away from a Gordie Howe hat trick. I'm going to be staying at forward and I'm the lead story in sports for the school paper next week. We take on Suffolk next Saturday. From what I've been told, they're beatable.
Let's Go Red Wings.