What: Anaheim Ducks at Detroit Red Wings
When: 7:30 p.m. tonight
TV: Fox Sports Detroit
Where: Joe Louis Arena, Detroit, MI
Records: The Red Wings are 7-4-2; the Ducks are 9-2-1
Coaches: Mike Babcock is 428-221-19-84 in his tenth season as a head coach, and 359-159-69 in his eighth season with the Red Wings. Bruce Boudreau is 237-113-49 in his sixth season in the NHL, including 36-25-9 in his second season with the Ducks
Season Series: First meeting. The Red Wings went 3-1 against the Ducks last season.
Ducks Update: Having built a reputation as a team that starts slow, then gets hot in the middle-to-late part of the season, the Ducks have started strong. They are coming off of a 3-2 shootout win over the Chicago Blackhawks. Corey Perry scored the shootout winner, Ryan Getzlaf and Andrew Cogliano both scored goals in regulation, and Viktor Fasth stopped 28 shots. The Ducks are led in scoring by the ever ageless Teemu Selanne and his 14 points (4 goals, 10 assists). Daniel Winnik leads in the goal scoring department with five on the year. Getzlaf (10 points–4 goals, 6 assists), Saku Koivu (13 points–4 goals, 9 assists) and Bobby Ryan (11 points–4 goals, 7 assists) round out the rest of the top scorers. The Ducks will be without defenseman Cam Fowler (upper body) and goaltender Jonas Hiller (groin)
Red Wings Update: The Red Wings are coming off of a tough loss to the St. Louis Blues in overtime. Tomas Tatar, Drew Miller, and Pavel Datsyuk all scored goals. Henrik Zetterberg leads the Wings with 18 points (5 goals, 13 assists). Datsyuk (14 points–6 goals, 8 assists), Niklas Kronwall (10 points–1 goal, 9 assists), and Damien Brunner (9 points–6 goals, 3 assists) have been the other top scorers. The Wings have been hammered with injuries as they will be without Johan Franzen (hip), Todd Bertuzzi (back), Darren Helm (back), Mikael Samuelsson (groin), Brendan Smith (shoulder), and Carlo Colaiacovo (shoulder). Gustav Nyquist was recalled from Grand Rapids to take Franzen's spot.
PLAYER POSITION BREAKDOWN
Centers: Getzlaf and Koivu are a solid one-two punch down the middle. Datsyuk would be a better match for Getzlaf, as Datsyuk has been one of the best in the league in the faceoff circle. Zetterberg continues to be steady at center as well. Either could be matched up against the Ducks' top line.
Edge: Slightly to Red Wings
Wingers: Selanne and Perry will likely be on the top line, despite that Perry has not been putting up great numbers. Brunner's speed could challenge Selanne, while Justin Abdelkader will need to be physical against Perry. An interesting matchup could be between fourth-liners Jordin Tootoo and Brad Staubitz, as both have been antagonizers this season.
Defensemen: Even without Fowler, the Ducks have a solid blue line that plays very physical. Sheldon Souray and Bryan Allen bring size and lethal slapshots, while Francois Beauchemin and Luca Sbisa . Kronwall and Brian Lashoff could be in for a challenge, as well as Jonathan Ericsson and Ian White.
Edge: Slightly to Ducks
Goaltending: Fasth (6-0-0, 1.74 GAA, .933 save percentage) has been a big surprise among league netminders. He has essentially taken the number one spot with Hiller struggling. Jimmy Howard (6-4-2, 2.88 GAA, .901 save percentage) will start for the Wings. Howard went 2-0-0 with a 1.00 GAA and a .964 save percentage against Anaheim last season. Howard has three career shutouts against the Ducks.
Prediction: To put it lightly, even if Howard has had his way with the Ducks, the absence of Franzen and Bertuzzi will be too much for the Wings to overcome. Expect another close, physical game between both teams.
Make It: Ducks 3, Red Wings 2
Season Prediction Record: 6-6-1Tags: Detroit, Detroit Red Wings, Hockey, NHL