The Detroit Red Wings are back in Joe Louis for a three game homestand and their first game is against the San Jose Sharks at 7:30 p.m. EDT.
Mike Babcock usually does not switch his line-up after a win unless a player gets hurt, which is what happened after the Colorado game and made a line-up change a necessity. Another shake up could happen before tonight’s game after losing to the Coyotes in such fashion. The Red Wings need to be harder on the puck tonight and better defensively if they want to win.
San Jose is coming into tonight’s game with only one loss on their record and have scored 4+ goals in 6 of their 8 games, in the other two they scored only 3, and Antti Niemi has been a wall inbetween the pipes. The only issues the sharks have is that the majority of their offensive production comes from their top two lines, which means they lack secondary scoring.
Brendan Smith – Xavier Ouellet
Danny DeKeyser took over for Kronwall on the top pairing and look good. I expect him to once again start on the top pairing tonight.
Jimmy Howard‘s first game back did not go as planned; he let in a few weak goals and did not get a lot of help. I expect him to be better tonight.
The “Two kids and a GOAT line” of Daniel Alfredsson, Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg, started off strong, but had their issues throughout the game. It would be surprising to see them paired up again tonight.
The Red Wings penalty kill has been solid early on this season, but they are taking too many penalties and it is putting too much pressure on the penalty kill and because of that it cracked against Colorado, giving up two goals.
Jordin Tootoo was taken out of the line-up in Phoenix and bad things happened. I was not happy with Babcock’s decision to take him out of the line-up and after the game I was less happy.
The reason Mike Babcock gave for putting Mikael Samuelsson in the line-up over Tootoo, was to have him play on the point during the power play, but he only played 17 power play seconds.
Samuelsson somehow played 10 minutes and 43 seconds on the ice without being noticed, at least Tootoo is noticeable, usually in a good way, and he only plays around 7 minutes a game.
If the Red Wings can shut down San Jose’s top two lines, then the Wings superior secondary scoring could win the game for them. Or the Sharks could just choke on their own.
Prediction: The Red Wings have been very good against hot teams and San Jose is on fire. Red Wings victory 2-1.
UPDATE: Darren Helm will be back in the line-up by Wednesday and Ouellet was recalled as Ericsson will not play tonight.
— The Wheel Deal (@Bill_Roose) October 21, 2013