What: Calgary Flames at Detroit Red Wings
When: 7:30 p.m. tonight
Where: Joe Louis Arena, Detroit, Michigan
TV: Fox Sports Detroit, SportsNet West
Records: The Red Wings are 4-3-1; the Flames are 1-3-2
Coaches: Mike Babcock is 425-220-19-84 in his tenth season as a head coach, and 356-158-69 in his eighth season with the Red Wings. Bob Hartley is 330-229-61-36 in his 11th season as a head coach, and 1-3-2 in his first season with the Flames.
Season series: First meeting. The Red Wings went 2-2-0 against the Flames last season.
Red Wings Update: The Wings have gotten some much needed rest after a 4-2 loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets. Johan Franzen and Damien Brunner scored for the Wings in the loss. Henrik Zetterberg leads the team in scoring with 12 points (5 goals, 7 assists). Pavel Datsyuk is also in double digits in scoring with 10 points (3 goals, 7 assists). In addition, Brunner has tallied a point in each of the last six games, and Niklas Kronwall has recorded seven assists in the last seven games. The Wings will be without Darren Helm (back), Mikael Samuelsson (groin), Brendan Smith (shoulder), and Carlo Colaiacovo (shoulder). The good news is that Ian White will be back from a leg injury.
Flames Update: The Flames are in the NHL's basement with only four points on the season. They are coming off of a 3-2 shootout loss to the Chicago Blackhawks. Both Flames' goals came from defensemen Dennis Wideman and Jay Bouwmeester. Winger Alex Tanguay leads the team in scoring with six points (3 goals, 3 assists). Team captain Jarome Iginla has tallied four assists this season, but has yet to score a goal. Jiri Hudler, who was with the Red Wings last season, will make his return to Detroit. Hudler has five points (2 goals, 3 assists) this season.
PLAYER POSITION BREAKDOWN
Centers: Matt Stajan is Calgary's top center, but he usually splits time with Iginla in that department. Zetterberg's faceoff numbers continue to rise, while Datsyuk has been tough in the faceoff circle. The Flames aren't very deep down the middle, and really don't matchup well here.
Edge: Red Wings
Wingers: This is where the Flames get most of their scoring. Hudler, Tanguay,Curtis Glencross, and Lee Stempniak have combined 11 goals. Brunner and Franzen will remain on the top line for the Wings, while call up Tomas Tatar will play on the second line with Datsyuk and Valtteri Filppula. This was done to generate more offense. Todd Bertuzzi will move down to the third line. Look for the Red Wings to have a big night.
Edge: Red Wings
Defensemen: Bouwmeester and Wideman are the Flames top pair, and will contribute offensively. Kronwall and Jonathan Ericsson are starting to click as a pair, and the return of White will add a boost (White scored two goals against the Flames last season.) Brian Lashoff will be back in the lineup tonight.
Edge: Slightly to the Red Wings
Goaltending: Miikka Kiprusoff (1-3-2, 3.42 GAA, .857 save percentage) has not been anywhere close to when he won the Vezina Trophy (2005-06). Jimmy Howard (4-3-1, 2.96 GAA, .898 save percentage) will start again for the Wings. The team recalled Petr Mrazek to serve as Howard's backup.
Edge: Red Wings
Prediction: These aren't your father's Flames. In fact, they look more like when they first became a franchise in Atlanta in the 1970's. Look for the Red Wings to get back on the winning track tonight.
Make it: Red Wings 4, Flames 1.
Season Prediction Record: 4-4-0
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