Welcome to the post-trade-deadline-world, my friends! Tonight we will take a giant dump on the city of Detroit and their hockey team, but it already smells so bad there, no one will notice!
Actually, jokes aside, the Avs do face a somewhat depleted, yet possibly rejuvenated, Wings team at the Joe tonight. (I'm going to capitalize everything, so I guess you'll all have to deal with it. Also, I'm still going to use Oxford Commas, if the situation arises. Suck it.) Detroit has 68 points, good for 9th in the Easter Conference, and sits just barely outside of the playoffs with a damn fine chance at getting a spot. They're tied with the Capitals with a couple games in hand on them, and are nipping at the heels of Columbus, NYR, and Tampa Bay.
Man, the Eastern Conference is tightly ranked. I mean, I already knew that, but looking at it again... There are 10 teams within a 10 point range (75p to 65p). Only Pittsburgh and Boston are really uncatchable, and every other team could be out of the playoffs with three bad games. It reminds me of some of the tight years in the West, when the Avs barely missed out. There are going to be a lot of disappointed teams at the end of the season.
All that being said, I don't know how the Wings are going to be for the rest of the year. They have lost Datsyuk for three weeks (at least we don't have to worry about him for tomorrow), and Darren Helm is having some issues with headaches. And those are only the most recent injuries, added to a list that includes Henrik Zetterberg (who had back surgery), Stephen Weiss (hernia), and Daniel Cleary (knee issues). In an effort to patch some things up yesterday, Wings GM Ken Holland picked up a rather aging David Legwand, hoping that he can still game enough to help Detroit through into the playoffs. That trade sent doghouse dweller Patrick Eaves to Nashville, as well as prospect forward Calle Jarnkrok and a 3rd.
Since the Olympic break, the Wings are 2-1-0, beating Ottawa, and snagging a point from Montreal with an OT win. They lost to the Devils most recently, but, unfortunately, have had plenty of rest since then. Tonight is going to be special for Detroit fans: Nicklas Lidstrom's jersey will ascend to the rafters as it is retired. Hard as I find it to say nice things about Red Wings players, let's be honest. If Nick Lidstrom had played for us, we would have revered his name alongside Sakic, Forsberg, and Roy. He was out there in the thick of the glory days of the rivalry, and many years on either side. I'm willing to let the awful Winged Wheel have this moment.
Especially because we get to play them right after it happens! Yay! I can't wait pay them back for earlier in the year. As hot a start as our team had, we lost to the Wings in the 6th game of the season, 4-2. That was an upsetting game. Daniel Alfredsson had 3 points, and Johan Franzen had 2 goals. Lets not let that happen again, shall we? We know who we are now, and, frankly, the Wings are going to be a bit frazzled with a bunch of their guys out, and Legwand trying to find his place on a new team. I have this hope that we are going to crush them. Call it a feeling. I'm knocking on wood like a MoFo, but I feel good about this one.
Nathan MacKinnon is rolling into this game with a 12 game point streak. Gotta admit, I was screaming for an EN goal last game just to see the streak continue. Just about lost my mind when it went actually happened. Matt Duchene is creeping up on a point per game pace, and Paul Stastny remains a member of the team. Don't doubt that he's going to be trying to show the Avs brass that he's worth every penny of salary that he wants, and I'm pegging him to have an even better remainder of the season.
I don't really feel like talking about Tyson Barrie's great offensive play recently, nor O'Reilly's constant contributions, nor Talbot's comfort with his place on the team, nor Landy's sick flow. We should all know about that good stuff. Lets just put all of that greatness together and go out there and beat the Red Wings.
Some notes about the upcoming match:
I just spent like 20 minutes looking at DRW shift charts and trying to figure out what the hell was going on, but with all the injuries, I'm just not going to try. Lets just say that the Wings need to find something that works for them, and I expect them to take some time trying to figure it out.
The Wings guy that went to Nashville, Calle Jarnkrok, seemed to be a prized possession in the Detroit system. Kinda like Sgarbossa, but more real awesomeness than imaginary. Or Hishon without the concussions. Decent size, still filling out, etc. The Winging It guys seem pretty put out about it. Possibly like some of us are at sending a second rounder to the 'Lames.
With Zetterberg out for the regular season, the next highest scorer on the Wings is Kronwall with 39. The Avs have 5 players with more points than that.
Detroit has a 83.4% Penalty Kill, good for 8th in the league. Colorado has a 21% Power Play, good for 5th in the league. I look forward to seeing how that works out (assuming anyone calls any penalties this game).
Not sure if we'll see Our Lord Jimmy Howard or Jonas Gustavsson tonight, but both are doing decently well at keeping. Howard has a .913 percentage, and a 2.64 GAA. Gus has a .915 percentage, and a 2.48 GAA.
Speaking of Goalies, Semyon Varlamov has a .925 percentage, and a 2.47 GAA. Looking at percentages, the only goalies with more than 25 games played ahead of him on that list are Ben Scrivens (.935), Josh Harding (.933), Ben Bishop (.931), Tuukka Rask (.927), and Eddie Lack (.926). He's also second in the league in total saves, behind only Mike Smith for Phoenix.
If you want to go see the opposing blog, they can be found here: Winging It In Motown. If you choose to go, please bear in mind the rules on trolling other blogs, and remember that the rivalry is gasping its last breaths. Soon it will only exist in the wandering minds of the old folks' home. I'll be one of those minds.
Go Avs Go!