CONTAINING THE BIG TWO
There is no doubt the Red Wings top two lines can be lethal offensively. Through their opening eight games of the 2013 campaign, they have rattled off 18 of the team's 21 goals. Johan Franzen, Damien Brunner, Valtteri Filppula and Todd Bertuzzi have all been key contributors for the Red Wings, regularly generating scoring chances and producing offensively.
But Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk have to be considered Detroit's best weapons up front. The pair, who have each played all eight games this year, have 22 points between them. Zetterberg, the team leader in scoring, has potted five goals and 12 points while Datsyuk has three tallies and 10 points to his name.
According to rearguard TJ Brodie, the key to shutting down such highly skilled players is denying them time and space in the neutral and defensive zones.
“It’s tough to make plays when there are guys all over you and you don’t have much time to think or pursue the play. That will be big,” the 22 year old said. “I think playing a little physical on them too – knocking them off pucks and letting them know it’s not going to be an easy game.”
WORKING OFF THE POSITIVES FROM SATURDAY
The word domination could very well be used when describing how the Flames played against Chicago on Saturday night but despite putting 49 shots on Ray Emery – and holding the Blackhawks to just 19 shots –Calgary fell 3-2 in a shootout.
Rather than dwelling on the result of that outing, the Flames are looking to build off of the positives that stemmed from the loss.
“We did a lot of good things,” Brodie said. “For a team like Chicago to only get 19 shots, that’s definitely a good feeling.”
One thing the team is focusing on is capitalizing on chances. From shots going just wide of an empty net to whiffing on passes, the Flames had puck luck on Saturday but, in Brodie’s mind, no one should feel that Chicago just had fortuitous bounces. Instead, they have to harbor the attitude that they have to get better on jumping on scoring opportunities.
“We have to take advantage of the chances that we get. We’ve got to find a way to win.”
DETROIT LINEUP NOTES
Former Flame Ian White will likely return to the Red Wings lineup tonight. He suffered a leg laceration on Jan. 22 and has been out ever since.
Detroit’s back-end took a hit on Saturday when Brendan Smith suffered a shoulder sprain after taking a hit from Columbus' Derek MacKenzie. He is expected to be out for three to four weeks.
Yesterday, Detroit recalled goaltender Petr Mrazek and forward Tomas Tatar from Grand Rapids (AHL). Mrazek was summoned to provide some stability in regards to backup netminding. Both Jonas Gustavsson (groin) and Joey MacDonald (back) aren’t healthy enough to play caddy for Jimmy Howard.
Tatar has been brought in to help kick-start Detroit's offence, which has relied heavily on their top-six forwards. The Red Wings third and fourth lines have only one point in between them - a Patrick Eaves assist on a Zetterberg tally.
The forward will play on a line with Datsyuk and Filppula.
“I’m going to try my best,” he said after the Red Wings morning skate. “Maybe … score a goal. That would be really nice for me.”
Forward Darren Helm (back) and Carlo Caliacovo (shoulder) will not play tonight. Defenceman Jakub Kindl will sit as a healthy scratch while Brian Lashoff will jump back into the lineup in his place.
CLIPPING THE WINGS
Mike Cammalleri has had great success against the Wings throughout his career, recording 18 points (9 goals, 9 helpers) in 19 games. He faced off against Detroit once last season, scoring one goal on four shots in his 19:54 of ice time.
Captain Jarome Iginla has seen his fair share of the boys from Motor City over the last 15 seasons. He's played 60 games against the Red Wings, scoring 20 goals and 54 points - an average of .90 points-per-game. While Iginla is still in search of his first goal of the year, he has posted four points in his last five games. The winger is also leading the Flames in shots on net with 25 through six games.
Calgary's current scoring leader Alex Tanguay has played quite well against Detroit over the years. He has notched 11 goals and 32 points through 36 contests, an average of .89 points-per-game. The forward is heading into tonight's tilt on a five-game point streak.
While three games is an extremely small sample size, TJ Brodie has been very effective for the Flames when facing the Red Wings. Two of the defenceman's 12 assists last year came against Detroit and he averaged 16:21 of ice time versus the Red Wings.
Jiri Hudler has quite the grasp on Red Wings playing style and individual tendencies. After all, the Red Wings second round pick in 2002 did play five full seasons in Detroit before signing with Calgary last July. Given his knowledge of the opposition, there is a very good chance the Czech forward could push his point streak to four games in tonight's contest.
MILESTONES WITHIN REACH
Mikael Backlund needs 1 point for 50.
Mark Giordano needs 1 assist for 100.
Curtis Glencross needs 2 assists for 100, 3 goals for 100 and 5 points for 200.
Lee Stempniak needs 2 assists for 150.
Mike Cammalleri needs 3 goals for 200.
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