Where: Joe Louis Arena, Detroit, Michigan
When: 12:30 p.m Sunday
Records: The Red Wings are 6-4-1; the Kings are 3-4-2.
Coaches: Mike Babcock is 427-221-19-84 in his tenth season as a head coach, and 358-159-69 in his eighth season with the Red Wings. Darryl Sutter is 434-333-101-41 in his 14th season as a head coach, and 28-17-13 in his second season with the Kings.
Season Series: The Red Wings went 3-1 against the Kings last season; outscoring them 12-5 in both games at the Joe
Red Wings Update: The Red Wings will be playing the second of a back-to-back after a 2-1 victory over the Edmonton Oilers. Pavel Datsyuk and Niklas Kronwall scored both goals, while Jimmy Howard stopped 23 shots. The wings have been led by Henrik Zetterberg's 16 points (5 goals, 11 assists) and Datsyuk's 12 points (4 goals, 8 assists). Damien Brunner is tied with Zetterberg for the team lead in goals scored with 5. Defenseman Niklas Kronwall has also chipped in nine points (1 goal, 8 assists). The Wings will be without Todd Bertuzzi (back), Darren Helm (back), Mikael Samuelsson (groin), Brendan Smith (shoulder), and Carlo Colaiacovo (shoulder).
Kings Update: The Kings won the Stanley Cup last season, and still seem to be in hangover mode. Their last game was a 3-0 loss to the Nashville Predators. The Kings have six players (Simon Gagne, Justin Williams, Dustin Brown, Mike Richards, Anze Kopitar, and Kyle Clifford) tied for the team lead in scoring with five points. Jeff Carter leads in goals scored with four. The Kings will be without defensemen Willie Mitchell (knee) and Matt Greene (back).
PLAYER POSITION BREAKDOWN
Centers: It will be interesting to see who Babcock puts out for faceoffs. Kopitar and Datsyuk are both Selke caliber centers, but Datsyuk has been more dominant in the faceoff circle, winning 62% of draws. Zetterberg (3 goals, 2 assists vs Kings last season) could be matched up against Richards, which would be more favorable for him, as Richards has not been that good winning faceoffs. Jarret Stoll has been a solid third-line center. The same can be said for Justin Abdelkader.
Edge: Slightly to the Red Wings
Wingers: Brown and Williams were very productive with Kopitar in the playoffs, but they haven't shown that level of productivity this season. Matching them up with the physicality of Johan Franzen (1 goal, 4 assists vs Kings last season) and the speed of Brunner could be fun to watch. Carter was very productive in Philadelphia when paired with Richards, but they still need to find their magic in LA. Danny Cleary has moved up to the second line with Bertuzzi out. He had four assists against the Kings last season.
Edge: Red Wings
Defensemen: Drew Doughty is a Norris Trophy candidate, and ranks third in the league in ice time (27:52 per game). He and Rob Scuderi make up one of the league's best defensive pairs, despite both being minus 8 and minus 7 respectively. Kronwall and Brian Lashoff have been clicking as a pair, as well as Jonathan Ericsson and Kyle Quincey for the Wings
Goaltending: Jonathan Quick (3-3-2, 2.66 GAA, .889 save percentage) has not gotten off to a great start, especially when writers like yours truly picked him to win the Vezina Trophy. He was also less than spectacular against the Wings last season, going 1-3 with a whopping 4.16 GAA and a .845 save percentage. Howard (5-4-1, 2.86 GAA, .897 save percentage) will get the start for the Red Wings. He went 2-1 with a 2.34 GAA and a .911 save percentage against the Kings last season in three games. Interesting fact: both have been considered to play for Team USA at the 2014 Olympics in Sochi, Russia.
Edge: Slightly to the Red Wings
Prediction: The Kings still haven't gotten over the Stanley Cup hangover. Even though the Red Wings are coming off of a back-to-back, this is a Kings team that still struggles to score goals, is subpar in goaltending, and isn't much better than the Wings on special teams. As long as the Wings can sustain their success from the last two games…
Make it: Red Wings 3, Kings 1
Season Prediction Record: 5-6-0
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