The Detroit Red Wings are back in Florida to take on the Florida Panthers tonight at 7:00 p.m. EST.
The Red Wings have their captain back on the ice tonight and it will provide a very big boost for the team, which has not preformed well without him. With two games left before the Winter Classic, it is more important to get healthy and play well than actually win tonight, but a win would be very helpful as well.
The Panthers are 3-2-0 in their past five games, but have lost their last two games. Tim Thomas has the Red Wings number this year and has won both games against them this season, but thankfully he will not be in net tonight. The Red Wings will have to find a way through their back-up Scott Clemmensen to get the W tongiht.
- The Red Wings have a 14-5-6 overall record against the Panthers and 8 of those wins came in Florida.
- Since 2010, the Red Wings are 2-2-1 against the Panthers, with a loss and shootout loss this season.
- Henrik Zetterberg returns to the ice tonight, as does Justin Abdelkader.
- Even with Zetterberg and Abdelkader returning, the Wings find a way to lose a man in the process and that man is Jonathan Ericsson, who will be out of the line-up for at least 3 weeks with broken ribs.
- Too make room for the return of Zetterberg, Riley Sheahan was sent back down to Grand Rapids.
- With Ericsson out, Jakub Kindl returns to the ice and the Wings are hoping his couple days of helped him.
- Johan Franzen and Darren Helm are still out and there is no timetable for their returns. Helm could return as soon as the Winter Classic, but Franzen has not even begun to practice with the team.
- Jimmy Howard was practicing yesterday, but will probably not play until at least Monday in Nashville. If he does not return to the line-up by then it will most likely be Jonas Gustavsson‘s net at The Big House.
Prediction: The Red Wing have dropped three games to the panthers this week and will need to show the NHL who they are tonight. 3-0 Red Wings victory.