Ah, the Detroit Red Wings. Some say that we should hate the Sharks or the Kings instead (we hate them on principle, really), there was that brief hateflirtation with Nashville, and then there's Dallas. But the hatred of Detroit was cultivated the way that all great hockey rivalries are cultivated - through multiple, contentious playoff appearances. While this is just a regular season game, the Detroit hate still burns strong within us.
Also, fun, random fact about the Evil Red Empire: After their 7-6 overtime defeat of the Stars on Saturday, the Winged Monkeys became the first team since 1934 to trail by two in the third period, fall behind by two, tie the game again, and ultimately win.
Henrik Zetterberg was injured late in the second period during the Wings' game against the Dallas Stars on Saturday. He has traveled to California with the Wings - tonight's game will be the start of a five game road trip for Detroit - but the club is not expected to make any decisions about his status until later today. (Jamie Benn also punched Zetterberg in the head, and there are concerns that he might have a head injury). Zetterberg currently leads the Wings in points. Forward Daniel Cleary - who has been a healthy scratch the past nine games - has been skating with the team. Wings defenseman Kyle Quincey has been suffering from a lower body injury, and is questionable for tonight.
In the land of the Ducks, Ilya Bryzgalov was placed on waivers yesterday. Let's hope another organization is able to give him a chance, but really all that means is that Frederik Andersen is on his way back to the Ducks' crease sooner than later. (Update: Bryz cleared waivers and should be on his way to Norfolk.)
What Can We Learn From This Game:
Though two games is a small sample size, separating the Twins has engineered a mini-turnaround for the Ducks. After trailing 3-1 during the second period of Friday's game against the Calgary Flames, the Ducks erupted for five goals in the third period. The Ducks also beat a surprisingly competitive Edmonton team 2-1 on Saturday. It will be interesting to see if the Bruce Boudreau Line Generator continues to keep Perry and Getzlaf apart, or returns them to their natural state. (Emphasis on "natural state" because Corey Perry seems to have very little chemistry with Emerson Etem and Ryan Kesler. Also: Please do better, Emerson Etem. I want you to be a successful NHL player).
This is the biggest hockey cliche of all big hockey cliches, but we will also learn if the Ducks are capable of playing a 60 minute hockey game. They began Saturday's game in a dominant fashion, but let up the intensity as the game progressed, allowing a cellar-dwelling Edmonton club an opening that they didn't deserve.
And as always, we will see which role players are able to step into the breach for the Ducks. Jakob Silfverberg and Kyle Palmieri were standouts against Edmonton.
Apparently, the Ducks have thrived in close games. After their win against Edmonton, the Ducks improved to 25-0-7 in one goal games this season. In honor of that trend, I predict that the Ducks will defeat the Wings 1-0, with Andrew Cogliano scoring the game-winning goal.