The Malik Report
by George Malik on 03/22/13 at 02:59 PM ET
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...
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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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.