Game Preview: Columbus at Detroit

 

The Wings look to extend their winning streak tonight at home against the struggling Blue Jackets.  Detroit is currently undefeated while the Jackets are looking for their first win of the season.

The Facts

Detroit is coming off a game drought and hasn’t played since last Friday.  While the Wings have been bagging groceries, making pizzas and reenacting scenes from Red Dawn with the FBI, the Jackets have been receiving a smack down from the Dallas Stars. 

Even though the rest can be beneficial to a hockey club, it can also make ‘em rusty.  Detroit may need time to warm their legs up on the ice. The fact that the Jackets will be hungry for a win could also spell disaster for the Wings. 

The Power Play

The Wings need to improve the power play.  At 1-19, it currently ranks somewhere between Abysmal and the Winnipeg Jets.  It looks sloppy.  Instead of setting up the shots, Detroit is mindlessly throwing the puck at the net. 

If the power play unit nets a couple in this game, I’ll feel relieved.  Regardless of a win tonight, progress is needed in order for me to feel content. 

Steve Mason vs. Jimmy Howard

Jimmy Howard has been solid in net, recording 1.63 GAA, a .930 SV% and a shutout.  Steve Mason, on the other hand, has continued to reach new levels of suckitude with a 3.35 GAA and .883 SV%.

 I hate to pick on a goalie, especially so early in the season, but Mason is terrible.  How can Blue Jacket fans not be upset by his performance?  He’s gone downhill since his 2009 Calder Trophy win and it’s seriously affecting the Jackets chances to succeed. 

I’ll never understand why GM Scott Howson didn’t pick up a star goalie in the off season.  What was he thinking?  Instead of paying over $5 mill for a goonish defenceman (James Wisniewski, if you haven’t guessed) he should’ve been looking for Mason’s replacement. 

Mason is washed up, a backup at best.  If the organization wants to make the playoffs, they need to server ties and pick up a suitable replacement.

 Final Thoughts

The Wings will more than likely get off to a slow start.  If Howard can weather the storm for the first 20 minutes, Detroit should get a solid victory. 

If the Jackets are completely dominated, expect to see a lot of brawls.  This team is slowly imploding and the frustration is going to cause their blood to boil. 

Starting Line Up

Henrik Zetterberg – Pavel Datsyuk – Danny Cleary

Jiri Hudler – Valtteri Filppula – Johan Franzen

Todd Bertuzzi – Darren Helm – Justin Abdelkader

Drew Miller – Cory Emmerton – Tomas Holmstrom

Niklas Lidstrom – Ian White

Niklas Kronwall  – Brad Stuart

Jonathan Ericsson – Jakub Kindl

Jimmy Howard

Ty Conklin

 Follow Derek Hansen on Twitter @Hockey_Mouth

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