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Red Wings-Predators game-day update: Emmerton finally sits, and Howard gets a back-to-back start

As I’m covering for the boss your previously-regularly-scheduled Wings coverage won’t return till Monday, but here’s a quick update ahead of tonight’s game between the Red Wings and Nashville Predators (7 PM EST, FSD/FS Tennessee/WXYT): the Macomb Daily’s Chuck Pleiness reports that Cory Emmerton’s streak of games played as the Wings’ fourth-line center will come to an end tonight, but Mike Babcock’s “ride the hot goalie” theory will continue as the Wings try to solve Pekka Rinne and his glove hand tonight:

After making 41 saves in a shootout win over Boston Friday afternoon, Jimmy Howard will be back between the pipes for the Wings. It’ll be his 15th straight start.

Patrick Eaves will be back in the lineup, replacing Cory Emmerton. Eaves has been a healthy scratch in the last five games.

The Wings top two forward lines remain the same. The bottom two will have Darren Helm centering Jiri Hudler and Eaves, while Justin Abdelkader centers Drew Miller and Tomas Holmstrom.

Update: Here’s something of an explanation for Howard’s start, per the Free Press’s Helene St. James:

Coach Mike Babcock said he expected a tough encounter with the Predators, particularly after a hard game on Friday that saw the Wings (13-7-1) end the Bruins’ winning streak at 10.

“It’s going to be a battle,” Babcock said. “Back to back games are challenging. The hardest thing to maintain is the energy, it’s that simple. You don’t like to play back to back if you don’t have to, but we have to come in tonight and get after it. Nashville always plays hard here. They work hard, so it’s going to be an interesting evening.”

Babcock said he was pleased with the efforts of Pavel Datsyuk and Jimmy Howard against Boston. Datsyuk continued his strong recent play, scoring a goal in regulation and again in the shootout. Howard had 41 saves.

“I thought Howard was outstanding and Pavel the best player on the ice,” said Babcock. “We were able to find a way to grind out a game and a game that was contested — a tough game, against a deep team. Now we have to go back to back.”

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Comments

mrfluffy's avatar

While yes, I understand the need to win within the division, Jimmy can’t play this much until when it counts. Conk is still serviceable and needs some time in net. As far as Emmerton sitting and Eaves playing, not that big of deal, but why did ‘we’ sign Brunnstrom to keep sitting and keep throwing Cleary on a line he obviously isn’t comfortable playing on?

Posted by mrfluffy from A wide spot on I-90 in Montana on 11/26/11 at 02:15 PM ET

George Malik's avatar

The Wings don’t play again till Wednesday, so the Howard move gets a pass from me…

And I’m a bit puzzled by Brunnstrom as well. I think that when Mursak comes back, Brunnstrom will be a full-time AHL’er, and I think that’s already where he should be playing to begin with so that he can regain his confidence via playing big minutes.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 11/26/11 at 02:22 PM ET

SK77's avatar

Thank gawd Jimmah is in tonight. I was bummed I was going to have to watch Conklin blow it at the Joe tonight.

Posted by SK77 on 11/26/11 at 02:39 PM ET

BrendonR's avatar

I think they’re saving Brunnstrom for next year when they’ll have room in the lineup and need a big body capable of playing in the Top 6, while still willing to be bumped down in the lineup if needed.  At least I hope…..and, Patty Eaves!

Posted by BrendonR on 11/26/11 at 03:07 PM ET

SYF's avatar

Maybe the Wings’ll score ten goals and give up none by the start of the third and let out the Conk.  Jeebus, 15 straight starts.

Posted by SYF from Alana Blanchard's Bikinis and Surfboards on 11/26/11 at 03:45 PM ET

redxblack's avatar

Emmerton looked serviceable, but did not play with confidence. The NHL experience will do him wonders in the AHL, and next season (or by playoff time) he should be pretty sharp. I like this move. Also, Eaves should be very hungry after sitting a handful of games.

Posted by redxblack from Akron Ohio on 11/26/11 at 03:53 PM ET

Avatar

IMHO Babcock plays Howard too much. Though I do admit it’s hard not to play him the way he’s goaltending at the moment. But Jimmy showed us in the past he’s subject to some fatigue in the long term.

Have a great game guys !

Posted by Chris #19 from Lausanne, Switzerland on 11/26/11 at 03:59 PM ET

Avatar

The NHL experience will do him wonders in the AHL, and next season (or by playoff time) he should be pretty sharp

Do you think Detroit wants to take the chance of losing ANOTHER young player by trying to put him through waivers?

Posted by Garth on 11/26/11 at 05:21 PM ET

Chet's avatar

yeah, emmerton can’t go back to the AHL.

Posted by Chet from twitter: thegansen on 11/26/11 at 05:43 PM ET

HockeyTownTodd's avatar

Howard has been playing amazing, but expecting anyone to play at that level the entire season is a wet dream. 

Allowing 43 SOG is disgraceful and very un-RedWinglike. 

Emmerton shows great promise, but really needs to add some upper-body strength.  I like his puck sense, positional play, and attitude, but he is definitely a work in progress.  Maybe 1-2 yrs away from a regular roster spot.

Brunnstrom…he’s got the size and skills, but whether he can develop the consistency and attitude is still the big question.  Something about his game reminds me of Bertuzzi.

I don;t believe for one minute that Eaves was a healthy scratch for 5 games, they have to be covering for some nagging injury.  He has earned a regular roster spot on the Wings team, and leaving him in the press box weakens the Wings defensive game considerably.

Turnovers in our own end killed us yesterday.  The spoils of a vicious 2 and 3 man forecheck that the entire league knows as the way to beat the Wings.  Will Babcock ever add that element to the Wings game.  Turnovers that the Wings manage are not that profitable when you give the opponents half the ice and begin your forecheck in the neutral zone.

Posted by HockeyTownTodd on 11/26/11 at 05:58 PM ET

HockeyTownTodd's avatar

Oh Yeah,
Welcome back Geo…
You were missed.

Posted by HockeyTownTodd on 11/26/11 at 06:01 PM ET

Michiru Kaioh's avatar

I have no issues with Jimmy getting so many starts. He’s a professional athlete in the prime of his physical life, and how many times during this stretch have the Wings gone two, three, sometimes even four days between games? I just don’t think it’s that big a deal. I’d rather he play while he’s playing so well. He ought to be able to handle it, and we need the points.

I also like the Eaves move…and I just want to give a little love to Fil, who is one of my favorite Wings, and has played great this year so far. I’m glad Pav is back on track, but Fil is on a career high point pace, and he’s been great defensively as usual. <3

Posted by Michiru Kaioh on 11/26/11 at 06:06 PM ET

SYF's avatar

Turnovers in our own end killed us yesterday.  The spoils of a vicious 2 and 3 man forecheck that the entire league knows as the way to beat the Wings.  Will Babcock ever add that element to the Wings game.  Turnovers that the Wings manage are not that profitable when you give the opponents half the ice and begin your forecheck in the neutral zone.

Posted by HockeyTownTodd on 11/26/11 at 03:58 PM ET

And it was SIXTY minutes of two men deep forechecking.  The Bruins never let up on Julien’s gameplan.  It’s probably THE best forechecking intensity of any team in the league.

Posted by SYF from Alana Blanchard's Bikinis and Surfboards on 11/26/11 at 06:39 PM ET

Red Winger's avatar

Can today be Day One of the official Howard Burnout Watch?

Posted by Red Winger from Sault Ste Marie on 11/26/11 at 06:56 PM ET

MsRedWinger's avatar

Emmerton took that knee on knee hit last night, so I’m glad he’s getting a break.  Glad to see Eaves in there.  I miss him.

Howie will be fine.

LET’S GO RED WINGS !!!!!

George, good to see you here!

Posted by MsRedWinger from Flori-duh on 11/26/11 at 09:04 PM ET

Avatar

Glad the hockey gods welcomed Eaves back with a puck to the jaw :( Not fair.

“I think they’re saving Brunnstrom for next year when they’ll have room in the lineup and need a big body capable of playing in the Top 6, while still willing to be bumped down in the lineup if needed.”

Posted by BrendonR from Toronto, ON on 11/26/11 at 01:07 PM ET

I don’t believe the Wings are “saving” Brunnstrom for anything, and the only way he cracks the Top 6 is if he’s playing in the AHL (or for the Islanders/CBJ’s, maybe). Once the Wings have Mursak back in the lineup, he becomes completely expendable and since Emmerton can’t be sent down, he’s the odd man out.

Although, he’s now been called up and Eaves is out indefinitely so… who knows.

Posted by DrewBehr from The Mitten on 11/27/11 at 05:21 AM ET

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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.