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Abel to Yzerman

Red Wings-Wild live blog: The last last ‘gimme’ game

The Detroit Red Wings face off against an undermanned Minnesota Wild team this afternoon (5 PM EDT, FSD+/FS North/WXYT) with Pavel Datsyuk (but not Mike Modano or Niklas Kronwall) in the lineup against a team that should, to put it politely, provide the Wings with the “easiest” challenge in terms of their four remaining games.

The Wings will tangle with a Carolina Hurricanes team that’s on the outside of the Eastern Conference playoff picture looking in as of this afternoon, and then the Wings have back-to-backs against a defending champion Chicago Blackhawks team that could very well be a first-round opponent depending on how things shake down over the course of this week, so this game is, at least in theory, the last “gimme” of the season.

As NHL.com’s David Kalan notes, the Wings could sew up the Central Division if they win today…

MINNESOTA (37-33-8, 82 points) at DETROIT (45-23-10, 100 points)

Where they stand: The Wild are 11th in the Western Conference; the Red Wings are third in the West.

What’s at stake: Minnesota’s postseason hopes are done, but there are a whole host of possibilities for Detroit Sunday. Beyond hopping over the Sharks for the West’s second seed with a win, a win in regulation or overtime would also give the Red Wings the Central Division title. The Wings also stand to take the crown if they win Sunday in a shootout and the Blackhawks either lose to Tampa Bay or defeat the Bolts in a shootout. If Detroit gets one point against Minnesota and the Blackhawks lose to Tampa Bay, the Wings will still take the Central.

How’s it going: The Wild lost to Tampa Bay Saturday afternoon, ending a brief two-game winning streak. Things are still tough in Minnesota, though. The Wild have won just two of their last 11 games. The Wings defeated Nashville in overtime Saturday afternoon, but Detroit has still struggled lately, winning just two of seven, including a shocking 10-3 loss to the Blues Wednesday at the Joe.

Upcoming: Minnesota travels to Vancouver and Edmonton later this week before finishing their campaign against the Stars Sunday evening. The Wings visit Carolina Wednesday night before ending the regular season with a home-and-home against rival Chicago.

Between MinnesotaWild.com’s Greg Andresen’s game-day preview and the comments made by Wild coach Todd Richards to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune’s Michael Russo, one gets the feeling that the Wild have a tough task ahead of them in hanging tough with the Wings:

When I noted that Pavel Datsyuk looks to be returning today against the Wild, coach Todd Richards said sarcastically, “Datsyuk’s playing? Beautiful. Makes it even better.”

The Wild’s up against it tonight with veteran defensemen Marek Zidlicky and Nick Schultz hurt and veteran forwards John Madden and Martin Havlat back in Minnesota as well. The Red Wings look to be completely healthy, with Mike Modano apparently being taken out for Datsyuk.

Rookie center Carson McMillan will make his NHL debut on a line with Eric Nystrom and Brad Staubitz and Colton Gillies will play the left side of Matt Cullen and Chuck Kobasew. Mikko Koivu lines stays intact, as well as the Pierre-Marc Bouchard-Kyle Brodziak-Cal Clutterbuck line. Rookies Clayton Stoner and Jared Spurgeon will be a tandem again and rookies Justin Falk and Maxim Noreau will be a tandem.

Richards will be looking for a much, much better game from veteran Brent Burns, who struggled yesterday against Tampa Bay, because today will be a much faster pace for the rookies to handle.

“It’ll be a good test for a lot of guys,” Richards said. “You get a feel of, ‘Can guys play at this level in a game like this.’ It’s no disrespect to Tampa. They’ve figured out a way to win and a way to play that allows them to be successful. But we’re going to go against a Detroit team that is free-wheeling and very skilled. They play fast. The reason why they’re able to play fast is because they can handle the puck. It’s a challenge. There’s motivation already coming in to play against Detroit in Detroit. Nobody wants to be embarrassed. This team is capable of embarrassing you if you’re not ready. And they were just embarrassed at home by St. Louis (10-3). I’m sure we’re going to get close to their best effort tonight.”

Jose Theodore, who won here in November, gets the start.

Also of Wings-related reading note as you prepare for this one:

• MLive’s Rob Otto weighed in on the significance of Saturday night’s win vs. Nashville;


• Gustav Nyquist and Riley Sheahan get some pats on the back from Hockey’s Future’s college hockey prospects notebook;

• The playoff moment of the day on the Wings’ Twenty Straight website involves the 1997 Stanley Cup win;

• And Mike Milbury of all people gave Nicklas Lidstrom praise on today’s NBC broadcast, as noted by Pro Hockey Talk’s Joe Yerdon:

Breaking sports news video. MLB, NFL, NBA, NHL highlights and more.

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Comments

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monkey's avatar

Hot damn I feel alive.

Posted by monkey from Finland on 04/03/11 at 06:27 PM ET

TheRealYooper's avatar

Yahoo feed.

Posted by TheRealYooper from within sight of the edge of the Earth. on 04/03/11 at 06:37 PM ET

SYF's avatar

Referees:
Greg Kimmerly (#18) & Dan O’Rourke (#9)

Linesmen:
Derek Amell (#75) & Mark Shewchyk (#92)

Friggin’ O’Rourke.  For just about every damn game the Wings have played, it feels like playing six against their seven or eight.

Posted by SYF from Zata's Epic Viking Beard on 04/03/11 at 06:38 PM ET

George Malik's avatar

Stats: Game summary: Today’s refs are Greg Kimmerly and Dan O’Rourke.

Event summary;

Faceoffs;

Play by play;

Wild time on ice;

Red Wings time on ice;

Rosters/starters/scratches;

Shot summary.

It sounds like WXYT’s online feed is covering the Tigers game, regrettably, and they tend to go to football and leave the Wings play by play to WXYT’s 1270 AM station, which means there won’t be an online play by play feed :(

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 04/03/11 at 06:39 PM ET

stonehands-78's avatar

I understand your point, GJM, but ...

there are never any “gimme"s.

make it happen, boys

L.G.R.W.

Posted by stonehands-78 from the beginning ... a WingsFan, on 04/03/11 at 06:43 PM ET

Little Redhead's avatar

Afternoon Ya All!  Still enjoying the high from yesterdays game.

Lets Go Red Wings!!!

Posted by Little Redhead from the Engineer's chair on 04/03/11 at 06:49 PM ET

Red Winger's avatar

Red Wings Live pregame just mailing it in today. Hopefully the same won’t be said about the Red Wings in a few hours.

Posted by Red Winger from Sault Ste Marie on 04/03/11 at 06:55 PM ET

Trish's avatar

Afternoon bitches.  Lets do this wild thing.

LGRW

Posted by Trish from PalmBeachCntyFL on 04/03/11 at 06:57 PM ET

Little Redhead's avatar

Welcome back Pasha! smile

Posted by Little Redhead from the Engineer's chair on 04/03/11 at 06:57 PM ET

Chris in A^2's avatar

Wings, Tigers, Oberon.  Spring is good in Michigan.

Posted by Chris in A^2 from Nyquist Puck Control on 04/03/11 at 06:59 PM ET

George Malik's avatar

Starters and scratches:

For Minnesota:

Andrew Brunette-Mikko Koivu-Antti Miettinen

Greg Zanon-Brent Burns

In goal: Jose Theodore

For Detroit:

Johan Franzen-Justin Abdelkader-Todd Bertuzzi

Nicklas Lidstrom-Brad Stuart

In goal: Jimmy Howard

Draper, Kronwall and Modano are out for Detroit.

Again, the refs are Greg Kimmerly and Dan O’Rourke.

And WXYT’s online feed is inded airing the Wings game.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 04/03/11 at 07:00 PM ET

SYF's avatar

FSD on the Yahoo link provided by Yooper.  Thanks, Yooper!

Posted by SYF from Zata's Epic Viking Beard on 04/03/11 at 07:01 PM ET

WestWing's avatar

#13 back in the lineup.  Time to take this thing up a notch and see what we got going into the playoffs.

LGRW!

Posted by WestWing from Portland, Oregon on 04/03/11 at 07:02 PM ET

SYF's avatar

Mickster winked.  It feels good.

Posted by SYF from Zata's Epic Viking Beard on 04/03/11 at 07:02 PM ET

George Malik's avatar

Ken Daniels says that Modano’s “banged up.”

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 04/03/11 at 07:03 PM ET

TheRealYooper's avatar

so, we played 35 min’s in last night’s game. better play 40 today or no win for us.

Posted by TheRealYooper from within sight of the edge of the Earth. on 04/03/11 at 07:03 PM ET

RedMenace's avatar

Okay, let’s try this again.

Weekend LB, take two.

Posted by RedMenace from the Church of Jesus Lashoff on 04/03/11 at 07:04 PM ET

Chris in A^2's avatar

Johan Franzen-Justin Abdelkader-Todd Bertuzzi

Gator getting rewarded for yesterday, or another mindtrick from Uncle Mike, like starting Helm on the top line for one shift?

Posted by Chris in A^2 from Nyquist Puck Control on 04/03/11 at 07:04 PM ET

RedMenace's avatar

As an aside, I wonder if Murph will be between the benches for the Hurricanes game.  Totally going to buy him a couple of hot dogs and see what happens.

Posted by RedMenace from the Church of Jesus Lashoff on 04/03/11 at 07:05 PM ET

TheRealYooper's avatar

Wings, Tigers, Oberon.  Spring is good in Michigan.

Posted by ChrisinA^2

april in da d eh?

Posted by TheRealYooper from within sight of the edge of the Earth. on 04/03/11 at 07:06 PM ET

TheRealYooper's avatar

singing of da pre game song.

Posted by TheRealYooper from within sight of the edge of the Earth. on 04/03/11 at 07:07 PM ET

SYF's avatar

Cleary was in front of Ozzie when the Wings won the Cup in ‘08 and he said he didn’t realize the game was over until Ozzie raised his hands when the clock read 00:00.0 and the Wings were ahead.

Last night had to be one of the happiest Buckets I’ve seen since that Cup win in ‘08.  Gotta feel good.

Posted by SYF from Zata's Epic Viking Beard on 04/03/11 at 07:07 PM ET

TheRealYooper's avatar

big boy goal tender’s?!!  cool

Posted by TheRealYooper from within sight of the edge of the Earth. on 04/03/11 at 07:08 PM ET

SYF's avatar

Ken said, “Joe-say Theodore.”  Love it.

Do it, Wings.

Posted by SYF from Zata's Epic Viking Beard on 04/03/11 at 07:08 PM ET

SYF's avatar

Holy shit, Rafi.  Already?

Posted by SYF from Zata's Epic Viking Beard on 04/03/11 at 07:10 PM ET

Trish's avatar

giveaway by Rafi . . . .  sounds familiar

Posted by Trish from PalmBeachCntyFL on 04/03/11 at 07:10 PM ET

SYF's avatar

Fil on a line with Homer and Happy. 

Good shot, Happy.

Posted by SYF from Zata's Epic Viking Beard on 04/03/11 at 07:11 PM ET

Jeff  OKWingnut's avatar

Hola Bitches

Posted by Jeff OKWingnut from Quest for 12 on 04/03/11 at 07:11 PM ET

SYF's avatar

MIN out with a lot of injuries but who the fuch cares???  No one gave a shit ‘bout the Wings injuries except Wings fans.

Posted by SYF from Zata's Epic Viking Beard on 04/03/11 at 07:12 PM ET

Jeff  OKWingnut's avatar

BANG YOUR HELM

what a shift

Posted by Jeff OKWingnut from Quest for 12 on 04/03/11 at 07:12 PM ET

Trish's avatar

Taaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaz

Posted by Trish from PalmBeachCntyFL on 04/03/11 at 07:12 PM ET

sjketcheson's avatar

HELMER!!!!

Posted by sjketcheson from Ottawa on 04/03/11 at 07:12 PM ET

TheRealYooper's avatar

fourth line scoring.

Posted by TheRealYooper from within sight of the edge of the Earth. on 04/03/11 at 07:12 PM ET

Chris in A^2's avatar

“There’s your 4th line”

Posted by Chris in A^2 from Nyquist Puck Control on 04/03/11 at 07:13 PM ET

RedMenace's avatar

Helmet is a Wing for life.  One of the best bottom-six players in the league.

Posted by RedMenace from the Church of Jesus Lashoff on 04/03/11 at 07:13 PM ET

SYF's avatar

Helm! ASLDKJFOIARIOJFADSJOIFWEJ!!!!!11!!

1-nil Wings.

From Eaves.  Real pretty play.

Posted by SYF from Zata's Epic Viking Beard on 04/03/11 at 07:13 PM ET

Little Redhead's avatar

Helm Cool 1-0 WINGS!!!

Posted by Little Redhead from the Engineer's chair on 04/03/11 at 07:13 PM ET

WestWing's avatar

D Helm!!!!

Posted by WestWing from Portland, Oregon on 04/03/11 at 07:13 PM ET

edillac's avatar

smart shot by Helm,
great start

Posted by edillac from isolation on 04/03/11 at 07:14 PM ET

SYF's avatar

Uncle Mike has the Circus buoyed with Buckets on the other wing.  Looking good.

Posted by SYF from Zata's Epic Viking Beard on 04/03/11 at 07:15 PM ET

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About Abel to Yzerman

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: wphoulihan@gmail.com