Abel to Yzerman
by IwoCPO on 04/09/14 at 02:27 PM ET
If you think tonite isn't big, you're an idiot. It is. For three reasons.
1. We need the points, because we want to finish ahead of Columbus, because if we do...
2. ...we get the team we want to play and that team is the team we're playing tonite. We want Pittsburgh. Badly.
3. I still hate the Pens
Why, you ask, why is number 2 beyond debate?
I've got answers.
The Wings can beat Pittsburgh without Hank Zetterberg. The Wings will not beat Boston in a 7-gamer without Hank Zetterberg.
Boston is better than the Pens. Better by a long shot and better by a blue line. Are they as explosive as the Pens? Maybe not. But they're deeper and tougher to match up against, I believe.
This, thanks to George, is the lineup they're going with tonite:
Frightened, yet? You shouldn't be.
Put Malkin in there for the playoffs. He's hurt, but skating. The Pens say they won't waste him the rest of the regular season, won't bring him back too early, but he'll go for Round 1. That's fact.
Still, even with Malkin, I like the Wings' chances much better than I would against Boston. That game last week? Yes, the Wings won. I know. But you watched it and you saw James F. Howard steal one. You saw Boston dominate for most of it. I do not want that team in Round 1, minus Zetterberg.
Pittsburgh, on the other hand?
We'll see tonite, but I'm telling you now what the Wings have got to be thinking...that's the team we want in Round 1. That's the team that's nearly as banged up as we are (technically, even moreso). That's the team that would have the most problem dealing with the Wings' team speed.
And Marc Andre Fleury is not a goaltender who is going to steal a period, much less a game. The Wings want Fleury in Round 1. Brittle, stumbling, tripping over carpet, French, soft, prone to mistakes. We. Want. Fleury.
We want the Pens. There can be no mistake, 3-1 record against Boston or not. Pittsburgh is the team the Wings want and, really, must have to start the post season.
Defeating Pittsburgh, in Pittsburgh, tonite accomplishes two very obvious things: it sets the Wings up for that matchup, mathematically. And it sets the Wings up, emotionally (and for a young team, I have to think it matters) for a series against them.
So we all agree. We all agree that tonite is big. Well, if that's the case?
Why the hell isn't Jimmy Howard starting this game? Mike, you are my spiritual beacon, but I have to wonder just what the fuch you're thinking on this one.
Gustafsson looked like fresh baby shit against Montreal. I know that Howard played last night. I get the supposed logic in holding him out tonite. But, if there was ever a time to go with your starter two consecutive nights, this would seem to be it.
There was a time back in '88 that I was wrong about something. I can't remember exactly what, just that I was wrong. So, it wouldn't be unprecedented to think that I could be wrong this time too. Maybe the "Monster" comes out and stifles the Pens, who have nothing to play for except trying to prevent a matchup they don't want. And, don't think for a second they don't have that in mind. As much as we want Pittsburgh, that's how much they DON'T want the Wings.
This is not the Live Blog. That comes later. But, seriously, there is no reason not to start drinking now. You should be nervous about this. You should understand that Boston is not Anaheim. Boston is a season-ender, if we see them in Round 1 without Zetterberg.
We want Pittsburgh and tonite, in Pittsburgh, is key to getting what we want.
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Welcome to Abel to Yzerman, a Red Wing blog since 1977. No other site on the internet has better-researched, fact-laden and better prepared discussions than A2Y. Re-phrase: we do little research, find facts and stats highly overrated and claim little to no preparation. There are 19 readers of A2Y. No more, no less. All of them, except maybe one, are juvenile in nature. Reminding them of that in the comment section will only encourage them to prove that. Your suggestions and critiques are welcome: firstname.lastname@example.org