Kukla's Korner

Abel to Yzerman

No Notes, Just Previews- Leafs/Wings

A little different today.  I am having some back pain today for some reason and need to pace myself a bit here so no notes, just previews..

from Paul Harris at NHL.com,

Howard is 13-5-4 with a 2.21 goals-against average and .917 save percentage for Detroit, which has won seven of its past eight games. The Red Wings are 17-6-5 and on top of the Atlantic Division with 39 points heading into the Wednesday Night Rivalry game against the Toronto Maple Leafs at Joe Louis Arena (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, SN, TVA SPORTS).

Last season, Howard, 30, slumped with a 2.66 GAA after 2.12 and 2.13 the previous two seasons. He was hampered throughout 2013-14 with groin and shoulder injuries.

Detroit coach Mike Babcock said Howard's play was particularly important in the first few games of the season, when the Red Wings were discovering their personality but managed a 3-1-1 record against a tough schedule.

"If you go back to his first five games his save percentage was through the roof (.949, stopping 131 of 138 shots)," Babcock said. "Those first five games we weren't confident and going yet and we needed him even more so I think that's really important. … I really thought when we were trying to find ourselves and gain confidence [Howard] was really good."

read on

from Brian Comptopn of NHL.com,

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Triple Threat or Third Time’s a Charm

A quick trip to Carolina today(travel), a matinee, and a trap game.(triple threat) That's one way to look at it.

Going for our third win in a row, with the third time being the charm, is the way I view today.

Do not underestimate The Hurricanes.

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Preview And Notes- Detroit Red Wings vs. Carolina Hurricanes

Puck drops just after 5:00pm ET...

via David Satriano of NHL.com,

RED WINGS (16-6-5) AT HURRICANES (8-14-3)

TV: FS-D+, FS-CR

Season series: The Detroit Red Wings won two of three games last season against the Carolina Hurricanes. Detroit forward Henrik Zetterberg had five points (one goal, four assists) in two games. Hurricanes goalie Cam Ward allowed four goals on 67 shots.

Red Wings team scope: Detroit defeated the New York Rangers 3-2 on Saturday to conclude a four-game homestand with a 3-1-0 record. Goalie Jimmy Howard made 32 saves and Darren Helm scored in the third period to break a 2-2 tie. Helm has three goals in his past two games. Forward Justin Abdelkader (shoulder) missed his third straight game. Howard, who has not started the second game of a back-to-back this season, could sit in favor of backup goalie Petr Mrazek on Sunday. The Red Wings are 8-2-0 in their past 10 games.

Hurricanes team scope: Carolina will play the fourth game of a five-game homestand. Following a 2-1 loss to the Washington Capitals on Thursday, the Hurricanes, who will host the New Jersey Devils on Monday, are 1-2-0. Carolina is 5-5-1 at home this season. Center Jordan Staal, who has been out since sustaining a fractured fibula during the preseason, participated in practice on Saturday. "It's nice to be out there again. Just putting on skates and go for a little stroll and hopefully it gets a little more intense from now on," Staal told the Hurricanes website. A timetable for his return is still unknown. Ward is day-to-day because of a lower-body injury. Defenseman Andrej Sekera, who was hurt when blocking a shot earlier in the week and did not play Thursday, could return to the lineup. The Hurricanes are 0-2-1 against the Atlantic Division.

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Odds Are Improving On Mike Babcock Staying In Detroit

Ansar Khan answered a few questions regarding Mike Babcock and his contract situation...

Nothing is 100 percent. I thought it was 50-50 at the start of the season. Now, because of the way the team is playing and the positive long-term outlook, I think he'll stay.

I'm fairly certain it's not a money issue. I think he wants to be with the organization that has the best chance of winning and competing for a Stanley Cup in the next few years.

I like Detroit's outlook better than Toronto's. I'm guessing Babcock does, too.

There probably is concern that the Red Wings' best players are aging - Pavel Datsyuk is 36, Henrik Zetterberg is 34 and Niklas Kronwall is 33.

But they have a lot of young talent on the roster (Gustav Nyquist, Tomas Tatar, Riley Sheahan, Tomas Jurco, Danny DeKeyser, Brendan Smith).

And they're well-stocked at each position in the system. Forwards Anthony Mantha and Dylan Larkin look like high-end prospects. They have five defensemen in Grand Rapids who might wind up in the NHL (Xavier Ouellet, Alexey Marchenko, Ryan Sproul, Nick Jensen and Mattias Backman). And goaltender Petr Mrazek, current in Detroit due to Jonas Gustavsson's shoulder injury, is a top talent.

more

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Whatever It Takes

The win the other night was a good bounce back, but tonight, the Wings had better be prepared to do whatever it takes against a Rangers team that made it to the Finals last year.

Scoring first and often. Using all the talent and grind that we have going for us. Being assertive, aggressive, unrelenting on the forecheck. Going after the puck in the corners and everywhere on the ice. No more sitting back and letting any team come at us when we establish a lead.

In spite of all the rumors, Mike Babcock is still our coach, and he is one of the best in the game. He too needs to bring it. The game plan, every trick in his playbook. Whatever it takes to win.

Tonight we are going for two wins in a row. In my book, a bona fide winning streak starts with five wins in a row, and goes on and on and on. You get the picture.

We have the tools, we have the talent. Get it done! Whatever it takes!

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Preview And Notes- New York Rangers vs. Detroit Red Wings

via Evan Sporer of NHL.com,

Season series: The New York Rangers defeated the Detroit Red Wings 4-3 in overtime at Madison Square Garden on Nov. 5. Rick Nash had a power-play goal, and Matt Hunwick had two assists. Derick Brassard scored the game-winner for New York.

Rangers team scope: The Rangers expect to have defenseman Dan Boyle back Saturday after he missed the past two games with flu-like symptoms. John Moore filled in for Boyle and is expected to be a healthy scratch. The Rangers will be without forward Tanner Glass, who has missed the past three games with the mumps but practiced Friday. New York is 4-2-0 in its past six games, with its power play scoring in the past four and converting at 21.7 percent in those six games. The Rangers have not played since losing 6-3 at home Monday against the Tampa Bay Lightning. Cam Talbot is expected to start in goal on Saturday, according to the Rangers website.

Red Wings team scope: Detroit is coming off a 5-2 victory against the Dallas Stars on Thursday. Saturday will be the finale of a four-game homestand for Detroit. "Huge for us get a good balance of scoring," forward Stephen Weiss told the Detroit Free Press on Thursday. Weiss has four goals and five assists in six games after returning from injury. "Thirty teams would love to take that,” he said. “Power play got another one. All four lines were good. We did a real good job [Thursday] getting back where we want to be." Detroit is 2-1-0 on its homestand and 7-2-0 in its past nine games. Including a loss to the Rangers on Nov. 5, In the past 14 games Detroit's power play is 19 for 58 (32.8 percent), with power-play goals in 12 of those games; the Red Wings have at least two power-play goals in a game seven times. Weiss missed practice Friday to attend a funeral but is expected to play Saturday.

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Starting Over

That aboot sums up the prevailing attitude around here today. Too many times this season and for the past few seasons we all go through the same thought process. What is going on in Detroit? Why can't the Wings manage to put together a sixty minute effort? It's not too much to ask? Is it?

We haven't seen a true winning streak in at least two years, and after losing to Florida the other night, as we stood on the precipice of a bona fide, the Wings dashed our hopes yet again.

Now, we are starting over. Tonight's game is like taking four steps back, to what should/could/better be the new beginning of a bona fide streak. Once again stringing together one win at a time, until we reach the magic number five. The rest will fall into place if we can reach the five wins in a row mark.

But first, we have to play the Stars. Do not underestimate them. This is not a cake walk.

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Wings/Stars Preview And Notes

from Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press,

The Detroit Red Wings had an off day Wednesday, as their coach thought it would leave players with sharper faculties.

The Wings seek the start of a new winning streak when they host the Dallas Stars tonight. They'll have to do so without top-six forward and power play net-front presence Justin Abdelkader, who remains sidelined by a shoulder injury suffered during Sunday's game.

General manager Ken Holland told the Free Press on Wednesday that Abdelkader "is doubtful for the weekend. We'll see how he feels Saturday morning for final decision. Realistically, we're hoping he's ready to play some time next week."

The Wings host the New York Rangers on Saturday and play at Carolina on Sunday.

continue for a bit more...

from Ted Kulfan of the Detroit News,

There were signs the last few weeks.

Goals were being scored in bunches, but the Red Wings were allowing quite a few, too.

"The thing I don't like about what's gone on lately is we're giving up too many goals," Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said in the midst of that stretch. "I don't mind if we score goals, but I'm not interested in giving them up."

Tuesday's 4-3 loss to Florida was an example of Babcock's words.

continued

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The Drive Fo Five

I'm starting off with an SWM. Anything can be used against me in the hockey-no-jink-karma-sphere.

The Wings have now put together a string of four consecutive wins. We're going for five wins in a row, which I consider to be the beginning of a bona fide streak.  This is a typical TRAP game, in which we usually play down to the level of an opponent who then in turn, beats us.

Time to change the trend. Do not underestimate Florida. Not for one single shift.

Tonight will be the start of something real good if we can complete the "Drive Fo Five."

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Detroit Red Wings/Florida Panthers Preview And Notes

via Benjamin Zweiman of NHL.com,

PANTHERS (9-7-6) at RED WINGS (14-5-5)

TV: FS-F, FS-D+

Season series: The Florida Panthers won three of five games against the Detroit Red Wings in 2013-14, twice on the road, including a 5-4 shootout win Jan. 26. Pavel Datsyuk led Detroit with four points in three games. Panthers forward Sean Bergenheim scored four of his 16 goals last season against the Red Wings.

Panthers team scope: Florida lost 2-1 to the Columbus Blue Jackets on Monday after two straight victories by goalie Al Montoya, who made 21 saves against the Blue Jackets. Montoya has played well in place of injured No. 1 goalie Roberto Luongo, who left the Panthers' 1-0 win against the Carolina Hurricanes on Nov. 26 because of an upper-body injury. Montoya made 22 saves in relief of Luongo and 22 more in a 3-2 win against the Ottawa Senators last Friday. The 2004 first-round pick is 2-2-1 with a 2.00 goals-against average and .923 save percentage in seven games. Luongo may return for the game Tuesday, but he's struggled against Detroit with an 11-13-6 record, 2.88 goals-against average and .918 save percentage in 30 games. The Panthers will look to avenge Monday's loss to Columbus in a rematch Thursday at BB&T Arena.

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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

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