The Detroit Red Wings take on the Florida Panthers tonight in the Joe at 7:00 p.m. EST.
The Red Wings are looking to build on their victory against the Devils tonight, despite the fact that for most of the game it looked like they did not deserve a victory. The defense gave the puck away too much and were hemmed in for long periods of time, but only allowed the Devils to get 11 shots on net and Gustavsson made big saves. Tonight they want to build off the momentum and play Red Wing hockey.
The Panthers are an interesting bunch; they have an interim coach, Scottie Upshall leads the team in points, and Tim Thomas is in net. If this was any other team people would be wondering what was happening in the panhandle, but instead teams are salivating to play them and fans look at them as an easy two points.
The Red Wings have a 14-4-5 overall record against the Panthers and have a 68.2% winning percentage against the in Joe Louis Arena.
Since 2010, the Red Wings are 2-1-0 against the Panthers (1-1-0 at home) and tonight will be the Red Wings first game against their division rivals this season.
Tonight is Howard’s time to start, so it would be a big blow for Babcock to go with Gustavsson, but with how The Monster has played of late it would be difficult to sit him. After his latest win, Gustavsson is now 8-0-1 on the season.
It will still be a week or so before Zetterberg returns to the ice.
Todd Bertuzzi was decent in his return to the ice against the Devils and made some good plays in front of the net. Tonight Bertuzzi will be given a slightly bigger role and more ice time, but if things aren’t going well we could see Tomas Tatar join the 1st line.
Cory Emmerton had a better game against the Devils than he did against the Flyers, but he still has not proved he belongs in Detroit for the long haul.
The defense gave up too many pucks in their zone, which lead to a lot of great scoring opportunities for the Devils and that was on only 11 shots. Tonight the defense will have to be better in their zone and make smarter outlet passes.
Prediction: The Red Wings are looking to build off a win and the Panthers are in disarray, which mean tonight should be an easy one for Detroit. 2-0 win for the Wings.
UPDATE: Gustavsson will start for the Red Wings tonight.