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The Malik Report

Red Wings-Ducks game-day updates: line-up tweaks for a team that’s ‘no bag of beans’

The Detroit Red Wings will begin a slate of "on the road and still on the road" games against Anaheim tonight (10 PM EDT, FSD/NHL Network U.S. and NHL Network Canada = Center Ice/GCL blackouts/WXYT AM), and the Ducks' morning skate produced predictable news...

St. James already penned an article about Boudreau's comments...

The Detroit Red Wings play the Ducks tonight at Honda Center (10 p.m., FSD, NHLN) in the first of two consecutive games. The Ducks have been wildly successful this season -- they've lost at home just once, and are 22-3-4 overall -- but that doesn't mean Boudreau wouldn't love to have Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg in his lineup, too.

"I'd like to have them on my team," Boudreau said Friday morning. "They're great players. They're not big. They're tireless workers. They do all the little things right. They play both ends of the rink, and there's not many superstars in the world that play both ends of the rink every single game, and those two guys do.

"That's why they've been part of Cup teams and championship teams for so long. And they do it by not getting 120 points every year. They do it just by everybody knows they're great. And when they need the goal, they need the goals. They're really good players."

Asked if he still warns his players to keep an eye on Datsyuk, one of the NHL's top take-away artists, Boudreau laughed.

"I don't, but I do," he said. "It's just like telling your kids -- you know they know they have to be in by a certain time, but you still tell them what time they have to be in."

The Orange County Register's Eric Stephens reports that the Ducks will dress the following line-up vs. Detroit...

Here is the expected lineup that the Ducks (22-3-4) will put on the ice Friday night against the Detroit Red Wings at Honda Center. Viktor Fasth (11-1-1, 2.00 GAA, .927 SV%) will take his turn in the net. Ryan Getzlaf (flu) and Andrew Cogliano (teeth) won't miss a beat after Wednesday night's win against Chicago. Corey Perry is back in after serving his four-game suspension.

Bobby Ryan-Ryan Getzlaf-Corey Perry

Kyle Palmieri-Peter Holland-Teemu Selanne

Daniel Winnik-Saku Koivu-Andrew Cogliano

Matt Beleskey-David Steckel-Emerson Etem

Sheldon Souray-Francois Beauchemin

Bryan Allen-Cam Fowler

Luca Sbisa-Toni Lydman

-- And here is the expected lineup for the Red Wings (14-11-5), who are coming off a home loss to Minnesota as they start a four-game road trip out West. Regular starter Jimmy Howard (12-8-4, 2.48 GAA, .914 SV%) gets the nod in goal. Todd Bertuzzi (back) is on the trip but won't play. The Wings are also without Darren Helm (back), Patrick Eaves (jaw) and Kyle Quincey (fractured cheekbone).

From the Wings' side of things...

Urgh:

As the Ducks have won 13 straight home games, and haven't lost at home since half past forever, MLive's Ansar Khan and Brendan Savage wodered aloud whether the Ducks or Chicago Blackhawks are the NHL's best team:

The Western Conference crown, however, is still up for grabs thanks to the Anaheim Ducks. The Ducks are nipping at Chicago's heels with a 22-3-4 record that includes a 9-0-3 mark in the last 12 games. They're the hottest team in the NHL right now entering back-to-back home games with the Detroit Red Wings beginning tonight.

So that begs an answer to the question: Which team is the Best In The West, Chicago or Anaheim?

ANSAR KHAN: That's tough to say at this point, since they're so close, which is surprising considering Chicago's record-setting start. The tendency is to side with the team that is hotter now, which is Anaheim. The Ducks are 15-1-3 in their past 19 games.

But, if these clubs were to meet in the Western Conference finals, I'd pick the Blackhawks. I believe they have a stronger, more mobile defense, led by Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook, and that would give them the edge.

BRENDAN SAVAGE: This is a great question – I'm not just saying that because I thought it up – because these teams appear to be as evenly matched as you can get.

Both are averaging 3.4 goals while Anaheim's 2.5 goals against is a hair more than Chicago's 2.2. Both have lost one regulation game at home and two on the road. Both also have two goaltenders with at least 11 victories apiece and each has offensive balance with nine players apiece who have at least one game-winning goal.

It's no wonder they're 1-2 in MLive.com's NHL Power Rankings this week.

I'm going with the Ducks since they won both meetings this season – a 3-2 shootout Feb. 12 in Chicago and 4-2 Wednesday in Anaheim. They play again next Friday in Chicago but we won't know the ultimate answer until they face off in the Western Conference finals, a meeting that seems inevitable.

I happen to think that this is a little campy, but, via RedWingsFeed, the NHL decided to preview tonight's NHL Network affair by running an EA Sports simulation of the game and posting the "highlights" for all to watch:

Also via RedWingsFeed, the Score's Justin Bourne's deeming this game his "Game of the Night"...

Justification: It is a bleak, bleak night of NHL games. Flames and Blue Jackets – catch the fever!

...

Need to know:

* They’ve earned points in 12 straight, and are 15-1-3 in their last 19, which for the uninformed, is decent.

* Gustav Nyqvist, a pretty darn good prospect for the Wings, was called up for a game against the Wild this week, and scored his first NHL goal. He’s dressing again against the Ducks.

* Corey Perry returns from suspension tonight.

* Pavel Datsyuk has six points in his last five games.

* Getzlaf is on a bit of a roll too – 13 points in his last nine games.

...

What I’m looking forward to: With Corey Perry coming back, it’s a pretty star-studded game: Datsyuk, Selanne, Zetterberg, Perry, Ryan and Getzlaf. But to go with that, you have the Ducks trying to catch the presumed league-champion Blackhawks, the Red Wings needing every point they can get their hands on, and a lot of great young talent.

But more than anything, I’m looking forward to the Ducks victimizing the Red Wings porous D, so our trade deadline can be that much more fun. Guess what I’m picking below.

Thanks, nice to know that you're rooting for the "juicy story." Always a good pick (insert rolling eyes here... )...

Prediction: Ducks, man. I’m a believer.

Game of the Night prediction record: 4-5-0

That's it for me for now, folks. I have to take the mom to get her taxes done at Northwestern Highway and Middlebelt at 4 PM, and then have to a) navigate back through South Lyon through the clusterf*** that is traffic through Farmington Hills, I-696 and 96, etc., and then we're scheduled to go grocery shopping, which isn't particularly fun after tax time.

Paul will update as necessary.

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Comments

MoreShoot's avatar

Ha.  Babcock says he doesn’t want Brunner up against Getzlaf, but it this really better?

51-40-20

Is Miller going to make that line better because he’s looking the right way?  He’ll get just as mauled by the big line as Brunner and provide less offensive upside.

Posted by MoreShoot on 03/22/13 at 02:12 PM ET

OnlyWings's avatar

All I feel is that the Wings will have to play their best game of the season no matter what the line combos are.  Would be nice to have a big body like Bert to help shutdown the Getzlaf line.

One win out of 2 against the Ducks is a must after some Home game struggles.

Road Warrior time for the Wings.

Posted by OnlyWings on 03/22/13 at 02:25 PM ET

Avatar

Ha.  Babcock says he doesn’t want Brunner up against Getzlaf, but it this really better?

51-40-20

Is Miller going to make that line better because he’s looking the right way?  He’ll get just as mauled by the big line as Brunner and provide less offensive upside.

Posted by MoreShoot on 03/22/13 at 03:12 PM ET

As long as Cleary and Abdelkader are nowhere near the first or second lines I really couldn’t care less who Babs tries on those lines.

Posted by godblender on 03/22/13 at 02:28 PM ET

perfection's avatar

Miller is MUCH better defensively than Brunner… as is Cleary, as is Abby. In fact, while Brunner’s improving for sure, he’s still probably the weakest forward defensively on the team. When he was potting goals it made the tradeoff worth it, but now that he’s slumping, it’s not worth the risk. I think it makes perfect sense to move him down for this game.

Posted by perfection from LaLaLand on 03/22/13 at 02:30 PM ET

MoreShoot's avatar

As long as Cleary and Abdelkader are nowhere near the first or second lines I really couldn’t care less who Babs tries on those lines.

Sorry, but that is exactly what he’s gonna do.  Abby on the first line—“because Pav want’s him”—and he’s swap Cleary in for Miller after three shifts.

 

Posted by MoreShoot on 03/22/13 at 02:30 PM ET

redxblack's avatar

Maybe Z can use Miller as a pylon to bank shots off of ala 13/8.

Posted by redxblack from Akron Ohio on 03/22/13 at 02:31 PM ET

Avatar

When he was potting goals it made the tradeoff worth it, but now that he’s slumping, it’s not worth the risk. I think it makes perfect sense to move him down for this game.

It’s too bad they don’t address the actual problem.

With Datsyuk’s line turned into a grind line, teams could concentrate their defense on Z’s line.  It’s easy to neutralize a #1 line when there is no #2 line.  But instead of putting someone with offensive skill on Datsyuk’s line, to make the Wings a two line threat again, they’re weakening Zetterberg’s line too?

Jesus, it’s completely mind boggling.

Posted by Garth on 03/22/13 at 02:38 PM ET

detroitredwings's avatar

Our third line better be scoring tonight. But, when the enemy plays a backup goalie, our boys usually make a hero out of him, so…

Posted by detroitredwings on 03/22/13 at 02:47 PM ET

Avatar

Our third line better be scoring tonight

Which third line?  By my count we’re on our way to having three third lines…

Posted by Garth on 03/22/13 at 02:56 PM ET

Paul's avatar

via Khan,

Babcock gave Helm high praise Friday, saying, “Helmer, to me, is a top-four forward on this team.’‘

“Bert and Helmer and Sammy (Mikael Samuelsson) have been on our roster, but I haven’t seen them,’’ Babcock said. “It would be like a trade-deadline deal. It would be unbelievable to have them.

“We’re not the biggest team in the league, but if you put Helmer on the third line, with Bert and Sammy. … Come on, it’s like a pipe dream. They’re not playing (anytime soon).

“Right now we’re talking about things that … well, we’re staying at Disneyland, so fantasy is not a bad thing to talk about.’‘

 

Posted by Paul from Motown Area on 03/22/13 at 03:15 PM ET

SYF's avatar

Posted by Paul from Motown Area on 03/22/13 at 04:15 PM ET

Oh, great.  The new company line.

Posted by SYF from The Revenge of Johnny E on 03/22/13 at 03:21 PM ET

RedMenace's avatar

Posted by Paul from Motown Area on 03/22/13 at 04:15 PM ET

Well if Babcock is already living in a fantasy world, what hope should we have?

Posted by RedMenace from the Church of Jesus Lashoff on 03/22/13 at 03:31 PM ET

Avatar

We’re not the biggest team in the league, but if you put Helmer on the third line, with Bert and Sammy.

Boy o boy, wouldn’t that be something.  A speedy young guy paired with and old guy who couldn’t hit the wall of a barn from inside the barn and another old guys who’s only good when he’s playing with Pavel Datsyuk

Posted by Garth on 03/22/13 at 03:36 PM ET

Figaro's avatar

Video-Game-Jimmy looks a little leaky.

Posted by Figaro from Los Alamos, NM on 03/22/13 at 04:51 PM ET

Figaro's avatar

“It would be like a trade-deadline deal.

Oh, great.  The new company line

I’m fairly certain this will be the headline on the front of next year’s team Media Guide.

Posted by Figaro from Los Alamos, NM on 03/22/13 at 04:54 PM ET

gt500x's avatar

I almost hope we miss the playoffs so both Ken Holland and Babcock can be put on the first thing smoking out of town.  It’s time to turn the page. We’ve read all this before.

Posted by gt500x on 03/22/13 at 05:29 PM ET

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About The Malik Report

The Malik Report is a destination for all things Red Wings-related. I offer biased, perhaps unprofessional-at-times and verbose coverage of my favorite team, their prospects and developmental affiliates. I've joined the Kukla's Korner family with five years of blogging under my belt, and I hope you'll find almost everything you need to follow your Red Wings at a place where all opinions are created equal and we're all friends, talking about hockey and the team we love to follow.