The Detroit Redwings (7-4-2) continue their road trip through Canada. Today they’re taking on the Calgary Flames (5-5-2). This will be the first meeting in a home and away series held between these 2 teams.
This game also signifies the return for the Redwings to play against their former team mate Jiri Hudler. Hudler who is (G5, A8 +/- -2) so far this season and has a point per game average will likely play key to the Flames offense. He was dealt to the Flames in the offseason to make way for the likes of Alfredsson and Weiss. He was over shadowed by the likes of Datsyuk and Zetterberg in Detroit but he contributed when it counted for the Wings in big game situations.
Calgary, who are coming off a 4-2 home loss at the hands of the red hot Toronto maple leafs, will be looking to bounce back at home and show some of that grit and tenacity they showed early on in the season. Wednesday night Calgary out shot Toronto 43-22 but could not solve Goaltender Jonathan Bernier. Overall coach Bob Hartley was happy with his teams performance, this is what he had to say.
We are not pleased with the result, but i don’t know what more we could have done. Offensively we got a lot going and on the forecheck too. Our puck decisions in the offensive zone were good but Bernier basically stole the game from us. (via NHL.com)
While the Redwings, whom before the Vancouver Canucks game had a four game losing streak. Two games were humbling, 5-2 and 6-1 at the hands of Phoenix and Ottawa respectively. Adding the overtime/shootout loss to the league leading San Jose sharks 1-0 and the New York Rangers 3-2 in overtime whom of which were a 3-6-0 team at that stage has not helped the Wings confidence on defense until Wednesday night when the ‘D’ stood tall.
Simon Says Concerns: Detroit’s defense is leaking but in particular, Brendan Smith is 0-1 with a minus 7 rating, add that with Kyle Quincey’s 0-2 with a -7 rating also and the alarm bells must be ringing in Mike Babcock’s ears. His offense is also very inconsistent with Johan Franzen sporting a 2-3 with a-1 rating and summer addition Stephen Weiss is a disappointing 2-0 and a -4 rating.
If Detroit has any hope to mount a consistent run to the playoffs in a tightly wound Atlantic Division, they will need Franzen and Weiss contributing more.
Simon Says, who’s On Fire:
- Detroit’s Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg have combined for 24 pts and a +12 rating. Followed closely behind by Daniel Alfredsson who has 11 pts in 13 games. These will be the go to guy’s for Mike Babcock’s wings.
- Calgary on the other hand has Jiri Hudler who is flourishing in Calgary after being given more ice time, he has 13 pts in 12 games and a -2 rating. Rookiee Sean Monohan is second with 10 pts in 12 games.
- Defenseman Kris Russell for Calgary has 4 pts in 5 games. Including a 2 pt +5 rating night at home against Washington. Look to him also to spark some offense by jumping up in the plays and getting shots in through the point.
Simon Says Goalie Battle Royale: The other hot topic is Calgary Flames goaltender Joey MacDonald, the former Redwing back up goaltender to Jimmy Howard and Chris Osgood in the past is having an average year with a 3-2-1 record, 18 goals against and a 3.01 SV%. While his counter part Jimmy Howard is also having a frustrating year boasting a 4-4-2 record, 23 goals against and a 2.45 SV%. Definitely a far cry from what his best can be.
Whatever the case may be come Friday in Calgary, you better believe both teams will be ready to jump out of the gates and set the tone early.