As Flames fans finally come out of their self-pitying stupor following Saturday night's crushing shootout loss the Chicago Blackhawks, another potentially dangerous opponent lurks around the corner.
The Detroit Red Wings split the season series with the Flames in 2011-12, with Ian White burning his former team for two goals and five points in those four games. The Wings are 4-3-1 with nine points in eight games so far this season, including a 3-1-0 record at home. However, Detroit also lost 4-2 to the Columbus Blue Jackets on Saturday so any arguments in their favour seem kind of irrelevant right now. Their team also has Todd Bertuzzi. Yuck.
Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg are as good as ever, having combined for 22 points through eight games so far, and as always their forward depth looks solid with Damien Brunner, Mikael Samuelsson, and Valterri Filpulla filling out the ranks.
The Wings have allowed about 26 shots per game so far this season and have been getting about 31 shots per game on their opposition at 5-on-5, so their numbers are close to the Flames in that regard. Detroit's 5-on-5 shooting percentage is actually worse than Calgary's at 92.4%, but their 5-on-5 SV% is way better at 93.2%, compared to the Flames' dead last 87.5%.
Wings goalie Jimmy Howard has appeared in all eight games for his team this season, posting a .924 EV SV% so far, but just a .839 PP SV%. Like the Flames, Detroit has one of the league's works penalty killing units early on, so the Flames' best chance in this game against Howard and his 7-3-0 career record against Calgary might be to put the Red Wings down a man as early and often as they can. Detroit has also struggled on the powerplay early on, allowing two shorthanded goals and falling to 26th overall in the league with the extra man, so special teams will likely be key in this game one way or another.
Game Day links ahead!
Yesterday was Jiri Hudler Appreciation Day, so stop by WIM to find out why they miss the little Czech trouble-maker so much (just don't open this post in class like I did) [Winging it in Motown]. Also, I make a guest appearance to answer some questions about the Flames.
How is Flames draft pick Matt DeBlouw doing these days? [Flames Nation]
The Abbotsford Heat are at home against the Rochester Americans today and tomorrow for the first two games of a four-game homestand [flames.nhl.com]
John Gaudreau and the Boston College Eagles have advanced to the Beanpot Finals with a 4-1 win over Harvard, but Gaudreau hasn't been piling up the points lately [BC Interruption]
And just in case you missed it on Sunday or need some emergency cute puppies and kittens to get you through your Tuesday, check out SB Nation's coverage of Puppy Bowl IX on Animal Planet [SB Nation NFL]
See y'all tonight!