After out-playing the Hawks for the majority of the game on Friday and coming away with a much-needed win, the Flames are in Detroit this afternoon to take on the Wings (3PM MT, Sportsnet Flames), a team that they haven't had much luck against in two games so far this season, both losses.
The Wings are coming off a 4-3 overtime loss to the Minnesota Wild after a four-game winning streak at home helped vault them to the top of the Western conference, and their roster is in much better shape than the last time we saw them. Not only have crucial players like Brian Rafalski returned to the lineup, but the team as a whole has improved greatly from a possession point of view, particularly bottom six players like Dan Cleary--who now has eight goals in six of the Wings' past seven games.
The Wings are scoring 3.59 goals/game while allowing just 2.53, a fair measure better than the Flames in both categories, thanks in part to goaltender Jimmy Howard. His stats aren't overly impressive, but he's won seven of nine games at the Joe Louis Arena, and the other two have been OT losses. The Wings have actually allowed more than twice the amount of shots against him at home than they have on the road, however, so the Flames will have to try and get to him often, and preferably on the powerplay, where Howard has an SH SV% just over .900.
The Flames received offensive contributions from throughout the lineup on Friday, and while there's no doubt that the top players are still expected to do much of the heavy lifting, this will have to continue if they hope to match up against the depth of the Red Wings. The lineup remains unchanged since Friday, with the exception of David Moss moving back down to centre the third line and Backlund moving up to take his place on the second. Kiprusoff will start again tonight while Karlsson should get the start against the Devils, as per Roger Millions.
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Enjoy the game everyone, and hope Iggy can muster up another hat trick in the comments. Go Flames.