The Malik Report
by George Malik on 11/26/11 at 01:43 PM ET
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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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.