Gameday 73 – Red Wings

7:30 pm
Joe Louis Arena
TV: Versus/TSN2
There's actually a hockey game today.  Surprise!
It's always special when the Pens play the Wings, no matter who's suiting up or when or where the game takes place. The Pens are in the middle of the toughest stretch of the year so far, so they'll need a big effort tonight and for the rest of the year.  This stretch is perfect training for the playoffs.

Know your enemy: Nightmare on Helm Street

This home stretch is just what this team needs. They don't play back-to-back games which will really help our depleted lineup rest in between contests. With San Jose breathing right down our necks, let's hope that Detroit can use the home ice advantage to help cancel out the desperation of some of the opponents they will face.

Season series: Penguins Lead 1-0
Last meeting: January 18, 2011 – Penguins Won 4-1
What we said in our recap:

This game was a lot like the movie Little Giants, except the Cowboys won the big game and there weren't any future lesbians on the field. An actual line for the Red Wings in this game: Tomas Tatar – Justin Abdelkader – Jan Mursak. Ouch. This game was a lot like the Wild game. Only difference is the Pens won. Seems strange that a Wings/Pens game would be devoid of emotion, but this game was. There wasn't even a play where Johan Franzen got injured and the Red Wings could blame the Pens.

Penguins notes: Asham will be in today. Johnson will be in net. about Matt Cooke. skated again.
Red Wings notes:
Henrik Zetterberg wants Cooke suspended for the season and the playoffs.
Pavel Datsyuk, Johan Franzen and Jiri Hudler will all be out for the Wings.

Line production the last 10 games: Penguins | Red Wings
Favorite Red Wings-related Photoshop or gif:
Not a Photoshop. That's why it's awesome.
Gotta post it:

A Guess At The Penguins lines:

James Neal – Dustin Jeffrey – Alexei Kovalev
Chris Kunitz – Jordan Staal – Tyler Kennedy
Arron Asham – Max Talbot – Pascal Dupuis
Mike Rupp – Craig Adams – Chris Conner

Paul Martin – Zbynek Michalek
Matt Niskanen – Kris Letang
Ben Lovejoy – Deryk Engelland

Brent Johnson

Red Wings Lines from Empty Netters:

Dan Cleary – Henrik Zetterberg – Todd Bertuzzi
Valtteri Filppula – Tomas Holmstrom – ?
Drew Miller – Mike Modano – Justin Abdelkader
Kris Draper – Darren Helm – Patrick Eaves

Nicklas Lidstrom – Brad Stuart
Niklas Kronwall – Jonathan Ericsson
Jakub Kindl – Brian Rafalski

Jimmy Howard

"Gentlemen! Let's plow the road!"
Do It.
Go Pens.




7:00 PM
Joe Louis Arena
Listen to the game at [WXDX]
Know the Enemy:
Remember this place?
The last time the Penguins played a game of consequence in Joe Louis Arena they walked out of the building with the Stanley Cup.
Obviously tonight's game does not have as much on the line.
Tonight, the team the loses will live to see another day.
The team that wins will leave without a trophy, but instead with two points.
But that doesn't mean this game is meaningless.
Far from it.
This is not a September preseason game.
The two points that the winner will receive tonight definitely mean something.
The Pittsburgh Penguins are two points ahead of the New Jersey Devils, who have played one less game, for top spot in the Atlantic division.
Each win from now on out inches the Penguins closer to a division title and home ice advantage.
For Detroit the stakes are even higher.
The Red Wings are two points ahead of Calgary for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference.
Calgary has played one more game
This is the playoffs for Babcock's team.
The Red Wings cannot afford to give up any more points if they hope to make the postseason.
Of course, that's just one of the many things that the citizens of Detroit cannot afford.

Evgeni Malkin will miss tonight's game.
Patrick Eaves and Dan Cleary are out for Detroit.
Hopefully someone will be around to tell Cleary's dad the score at the end of the game.
Brad Stuart will play.
Jimmy Howard will be in net for the Wings.
Chris Osgood will be wildly out of position on the bench.
Is it just us or is jobbing the Red Wings a little bit less fun when it's not Elroy in their net?
Proposed Penguins Lines:
Chris Kunitz – Sidney Crosby – Pascal Dupuis
Matt Cooke – Jordan Staal – Bill Guerin
Alexei Ponikarovsky – Max Talbot  – Ruslan Fedotenko
Mike Rupp – Craig Adams – Tyler Kennedy

Sergei Gonchar – Mark Eaton
Brooks Orpik – Kris Letang
Jordan Leopold – Alex Goligoski

Marc-Andre Fleury


"But based on scheduling, the league seems intent on making sure that the Wings miss the playoffs for the first time in two decades. I’ve written already about the lunacy of the Swedish trip and the fact that the Wings were one of two teams playing the day after the gold medal game in the Winter Olympics. But just look at the last week. The team idled in western Canada for about a week before playing back-to-back road games, then gets one travel day leading up to a supposed showdown against the Penguins. Does that make sense to anyone unless the schedule makers truly do hate the Wings? I never believed it in the past, but quirks like that make me wonder."

At this point we'd like to take a moment and check the weather conditions in Detroit:
Tonight's game is not for the Stanley Cup.
In fact, tonight it doesn't even matter who won the Stanley Cup.
2009 is over.
So is 2008.
Tonight the 2010 Pittsburgh Penguins face off against the 2010 Detroit Red Wings.
The previous accomplishments of these two teams will not determine who wins tonight.
What will matter is how these two teams play TONIGHT.
One game.
It's not for the Stanley Cup, but don't think for a second that it's not important.
The Devils are breathing down our necks.
The Flames are breathing down theirs.
Tonight either the Pittsburgh Penguins or the Detroit Red Wings will give themselves a bit of space.
Hate week begins.
Get ready for it.

Do it.

Go Pens.