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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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RWBill's avatar

If you didn’t catch the link before, more H2H2 pics, a Jen toast to Chief, and the unveilng of the donation check.


You can view the pics as a slideshow by clicking “view as slideshow”.

http://s917.photobucket.com/albums/ad15/RWBill/H2H2/

good first intermission viewing.

Posted by RWBill from the open bar on The Hasek. on 04/03/11 at 07:35 PM ET

SYF's avatar

I still like it, Sully.  I’m pretty comfortable with that in the short-handed situation.

Posted by SYF from the team that re-signed KFQ and DFC by KFH on 04/03/11 at 07:35 PM ET

SYF's avatar

Holy shit, Jimmah.  Three guys crossing the streams and you still made the save.

Posted by SYF from the team that re-signed KFQ and DFC by KFH on 04/03/11 at 07:36 PM ET

Wingfan191's avatar

That was the fastest I’ve seen Homer skate in my life!

Posted by Wingfan191 from Bothell, WA (originally from Troy, MI) on 04/03/11 at 07:38 PM ET

RedMenace's avatar

Posted by RWBill from The Hasek. All Aboard! on 04/03/11 at 05:35 PM ET

Good stuff, Bill.  Sad I missed it this year, but maybe we’ll all meet again in H2H3: The Search For More Money.

Posted by RedMenace from the Church of Jesus Lashoff on 04/03/11 at 07:38 PM ET

calquake's avatar

Howdy boys and girls, looking for less than 3 GA this game and better defense.

Posted by calquake on 04/03/11 at 07:39 PM ET

Chris in A^2's avatar

Our forwards need to get more involved in the break out process, they’re standing still at the blue line and when the puck comes to then they have a defenseman all over them and turn it over.

Posted by Chris in A^2 from Nyquist Puck Control on 04/03/11 at 07:39 PM ET

SYF's avatar

Wings getting beat to the pucks and it costs them.  Wings on the PK in the friggin’ sphincter minute.

Posted by SYF from the team that re-signed KFQ and DFC by KFH on 04/03/11 at 07:40 PM ET

SYF's avatar

Nice job clearing the puck by Abber.

Posted by SYF from the team that re-signed KFQ and DFC by KFH on 04/03/11 at 07:40 PM ET

Jeff  OKWingnut's avatar

That was a pretty weak call against MINNY there

Posted by Jeff OKWingnut from Quest for 12 on 04/03/11 at 07:41 PM ET

Wingfan191's avatar

TPH making stuff happen, 2-0 Wings.

Posted by Wingfan191 from Bothell, WA (originally from Troy, MI) on 04/03/11 at 07:42 PM ET

SYF's avatar

Dangles!  From TPH at the blue.

2-nil Wings.

Posted by SYF from the team that re-signed KFQ and DFC by KFH on 04/03/11 at 07:42 PM ET

Trish's avatar

TPH

Posted by Trish from Tampa/Clearwater FL on 04/03/11 at 07:42 PM ET

Chris in A^2's avatar

TPH?

Posted by Chris in A^2 from Nyquist Puck Control on 04/03/11 at 07:42 PM ET

Jeff  OKWingnut's avatar

We’ll take it

TPH or Magically Delicious!!

Posted by Jeff OKWingnut from Quest for 12 on 04/03/11 at 07:42 PM ET

TheRealYooper's avatar

magic.

Posted by TheRealYooper from within sight of the edge of the Earth. on 04/03/11 at 07:42 PM ET

Rumbear's avatar

Magical!

Posted by Rumbear from Top O the Hasek, hanging with Dan Cleary.... on 04/03/11 at 07:42 PM ET

Little Redhead's avatar

WOO HOO 2-0 WINGS!!!

Posted by Little Redhead from the Engineer's chair on 04/03/11 at 07:42 PM ET

WestWing's avatar

#13 doing his best Homer impression!!!

Posted by WestWing from Portland, Oregon on 04/03/11 at 07:43 PM ET

RedMenace's avatar

Aaaaaand release.  Sphincter Minute is finally not bad for us.

No Homer in front, no shitty interference calls.

Posted by RedMenace from the Church of Jesus Lashoff on 04/03/11 at 07:43 PM ET

Chris in A^2's avatar

Bullshit, it’s not a trip if Filp had the puck

Posted by Chris in A^2 from Nyquist Puck Control on 04/03/11 at 07:43 PM ET

stonehands-78's avatar

i <3 pasha

Posted by stonehands-78 from the beginning ... a WingsFan, on 04/03/11 at 07:43 PM ET

Red Winger's avatar

Still have energy and jump.

...phew…

Posted by Red Winger from Sault Ste Marie on 04/03/11 at 07:43 PM ET

TheRealYooper's avatar

tripping with 3 seconds in the first. ding dang it.

Posted by TheRealYooper from within sight of the edge of the Earth. on 04/03/11 at 07:44 PM ET

SYF's avatar

That was the fastest remaining 30 seconds of any first period I’ve seen all year.  Wings will be short-handed to start the second.

Posted by SYF from the team that re-signed KFQ and DFC by KFH on 04/03/11 at 07:44 PM ET

Jeff  OKWingnut's avatar

19:40 DET Nicklas Lidstrom (16) Slap Shot - Assists: none

Posted by Jeff OKWingnut from Quest for 12 on 04/03/11 at 07:52 PM ET

Sullyosis's avatar

Whoa, Charlie Sheen booed offstage the first night of his ‘tour’. In Detroit. Way to go gang, makin me proud!

Posted by Sullyosis from A hateful lair in Post Apocalyptic US (or Arizona) on 04/03/11 at 07:55 PM ET

Trish's avatar

pretty boring intermission.  Where are ya Lil’ Red?  Gotta nice Canadian boy for us . . .
Photobucket

Posted by Trish from Tampa/Clearwater FL on 04/03/11 at 07:56 PM ET

SYF's avatar

You can view the pics as a slideshow by clicking “view as slideshow”.

http://s917.photobucket.com/albums/ad15/RWBill/H2H2/

good first intermission viewing.

Posted by RWBill from The Hasek. All Aboard! on 04/03/11 at 05:35 PM ET

Every single person who did their part, I raise my Guinness.  Outstanding.

Posted by SYF from the team that re-signed KFQ and DFC by KFH on 04/03/11 at 07:56 PM ET

calquake's avatar

Gotta nice Canadian boy for us . . .

I hear he’s from Saskatchatoon.

Posted by calquake on 04/03/11 at 07:57 PM ET

SYF's avatar

19:40 DET Nicklas Lidstrom (16) Slap Shot - Assists: none

Posted by Jeff OKWingnut from Quest for 12 on 04/03/11 at 05:52 PM ET

Really?  I thought for sure that deflected off Dangles stick.  I’ll take it anyways.

Posted by SYF from the team that re-signed KFQ and DFC by KFH on 04/03/11 at 07:58 PM ET

dougie's avatar

I switched it over to the Canes-Sabres game while they were playing the “April in the D” song. Totally amazing…....they just had a 2 day monster truck bash there Friday and Saturday, but they got the barn ready for hockey today.

Welcome to Carolina on Wed., Wings, where we filled the Greensboro Coliseum a few years back for a bass fishing tournament fish weigh-in. Really.

Posted by dougie on 04/03/11 at 07:59 PM ET

Jeff  OKWingnut's avatar

Scoring change - Z gets a helper on TPH’s goal

19:40 DET Nicklas Lidstrom (16) Slap Shot - Assists: H. Zetterberg (55)

Posted by Jeff OKWingnut from Quest for 12 on 04/03/11 at 08:00 PM ET

SYF's avatar

Second period.  Here we go.

Posted by SYF from the team that re-signed KFQ and DFC by KFH on 04/03/11 at 08:01 PM ET

Jeff  OKWingnut's avatar

Kindl - - D’Oh

Posted by Jeff OKWingnut from Quest for 12 on 04/03/11 at 08:01 PM ET

SYF's avatar

Kindl with a breakaway and misses on the short side.

Posted by SYF from the team that re-signed KFQ and DFC by KFH on 04/03/11 at 08:02 PM ET

Little Redhead's avatar

Nice, Trish, Very Nice!  Thanks!

Lets go Red WINGS!!!

Posted by Little Redhead from the Engineer's chair on 04/03/11 at 08:02 PM ET

monkey's avatar

What does it say that I wanted to kill myself when I had one?

Laudable.  One of the best things I’ve ever seen on tv was Daniel Tosh taking a golf club to a brand new pre-release iPad.

Posted by monkey from Finland on 04/03/11 at 08:02 PM ET

SYF's avatar

Keep pressing, Wings.

Posted by SYF from the team that re-signed KFQ and DFC by KFH on 04/03/11 at 08:03 PM ET

SYF's avatar

Miller shits on his chance as well.

Posted by SYF from the team that re-signed KFQ and DFC by KFH on 04/03/11 at 08:03 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