Abdelkader In, Hudler Out as Red Wings Host Predators

Justin Abdelkader will return to the Red Wings lineup tonight as Detroit hosts the Nashville Predators. Jiri Hudler will be the odd man out for Detroit, with Abdelkader slated to take his spot on the third line.

“Big thing is I want to get Abby in,” Detroit coach Mike Babcock said. “I think Huds has gotten better since the start of the year, but I want to get Abby in. That line hasn’t been great, so this gives me the opportunity to do that.”

As goalie Jimmy Howard remains out, recovering from back spasms, Chris Osgood gets his second consecutive start in net.

Red Wings – Coyotes Postgame Notes

Chris Osgood is gonna take a lot of blame for this loss – and he should, to a certain extent – but the Phoenix empty-net goal pisses me off so I put the blame for killing Detroit’s chance at tying things up on Niklas Kronwall.

Your team started slow (again) and had to battle back to get within one. You’ve got the extra attacker and you lucked into a timeout when the Coyotes had to take one after an icing. You’ve got possession at your own blue line and what do you do? Flub a cross-ice pass, giving away the puck for an easy shot into the empty net.

That’s not lack of skill. It’s not a bad break. It’s a stupid mistake.

It’s also indicative of what’s been wrong with the Red Wings even while they’ve been winning. The talent is there, obviously; they just find ways to screw things up.

Howard Out, MacDonald Recalled as Red Wings Host Coyotes

The Detroit Red Wings announced this afternoon that Chris Osgood will start in net tonight as they host the Phoenix Coyotes

Jimmy Howard had been slated to start but suffered back spasms following the morning skate. General manager Ken Holland said he was being kept out of the lineup as a precaution.

Joey MacDonald was called up from the Grand Rapids Griffins to serve as Osgood’s backup.

To make room for MacDonald, injured forward Kris Draper was moved from the short-term injured reserve to long-term IR, with defenseman Brian Rafalski being placed on STIR.

Red Wings – Ducks Postgame Notes

I expect my initial reaction to the Red Wings’ win tonight to go over rather poorly: Detroit didn’t deserve the win, Anaheim did.

The Red Wings were too sloppy tonight. You can win sloppy games, they proved that tonight, but if this had been a loss you could look at their play and say, “Of course it was.”

Turnovers, blown defensive coverage, missed opportunities in general. It should have been a loss.

Meanwhile, the Ducks have a couple things to complain about.

While I think Corey Perry could have avoided Johan Franzen, the first period penalty on Perry that led to Detroit’s first goal was weak. It might have been technically right but it I’d be upset if it were called on a Wing.

Detroit’s third goal was a bit questionable, too. Paul Mara appeared to touch the puck in attempting to clear it from the goal line. On a delayed penalty, the play could have been blown dead. That said, Mara did not have control of the puck so maybe that’s why the whistle didn’t blow.

I think there’s a lot less controversy to Anaheim’s goals than there was to Detroit’s.

Speaking of controversy… I still say Nicklas Kronwall will get a one-game suspension for his hit on Teemu Selanne. I don’t think there was an intent to injure but Kronwall’s hits look bad. He has a bit of a history and Selanne is a future Hall of Famer. That Selanne came back to play (and score) in the game helps Kronwall but that hit was another case where I’d be mad if it happened the other way around.

Red Wings – Ducks Pregame Notes

Former Red Wing Andreas Lilja returns to Detroit tonight with his new team, the Anaheim Ducks.

Lilja hadn’t signed with the Ducks last time these two teams met, in the season opener on October 8. I’m sure no one needs reminding of what happened then but just for the record: Pavel Datsyuk. Gordie Howe Hat Trick.

Todd Bertuzzi will be a game-time decision, having injured his foot blocking a shot on Thursday against the Flames. He didn’t skate yesterday but thinks he’ll be ready tonight. If he can’t go, Justin Abdelkader will crack the Wings’ lineup, returning from his rib injury.

Abdelkader could be in the lineup anyway if the Red Wings opt to go with a more physical look to their fourth line to counter the Ducks’ aggressiveness but no changes are expected.

Jimmy Howard gets the start in goal.

Franzen Returns to Score Game-Winner as Red Wings Beat Flames

Johan Franzen returned to the Detroit lineup from the head injury that kept him out of last Saturday’s matchup with the Phoenix Coyotes and scored the third period goal that lifted the Red Wings over Calgary Flames Thursday night.

At 7:55 of the third period, Franzen flipped the puck onto Miikka Kiprusoff‘s shoulder. It rolled down the Calgary goalie’s back and into the net to give the Red Wings a 3-2 lead.

Todd Bertuzzi snapped a shot over that same shoulder on a partial breakaway with 3:17 remaining to wrap up the 4-2 win.

The Flames had opened the scoring with 4:36 left in the first period. Mikael Backlund jumped into the slot uncovered and took a pass from behind the net from Curtis Glencross, banging the puck past Detroit netminder Jimmy Howard.

Henrik Zetterberg got the Red Wings on the board with 2:31 left in the period. Tomas Holmstrom gained the Calgary zone and worked the puck to Pavel Datsyuk as he and Zetterberg streaked into the zone. Datsyuk carried it through the right faceoff circle and dumped it across to Zetterberg to snap into the open side of the net.

Backlund put the Flames back in front 41 seconds later, swatting a bouncing puck past Howard on his backhand.

Nicklas Lidstrom‘s blueline blast on a Detroit power play evened things back up at 3:51 of the second period.

Lidstrom’s goal was the only power play goal of the night. Detroit had five chances with the extra attacker while Calgary had six.

Howard made 34 saves on 36 shots on the night to get the win. Kiprusoff stopped 26 of Detroit’s 30 chances.

Red Wings – Flames Postgame Notes

Thoughts on the Red Wings’ 4-2 win over the Flames last night…

Jimmy Howard was pretty much spectacular. He had several stops early in the first and again early in the third that kept the Red Wings in it. Neither of the goals were his fault, as Backlund was left alone in the slot on the first one and the second was a bit of a fluke.

The power play looked better than it has all season. I wasn’t happy with the last chance with the extra attacker but in general Detroit was moving the puck better and holding the points to keep the puck in the zone. I liked the Lidstrom-Modano pairing, they seemed more comfortable than Lidstrom-Kronwall. Still can’t wait to get Rafalski back.

Henrik Zetterberg‘s goal to get the Red Wings on the board and Todd Bertuzzi‘s to end the scoring were fantastic for two different reasons. Zetterberg’s was made possible by great passing to get him the puck and Bertuzzi’s was just an incredible shot.

Mikael Backlund should never have been left alone in the slot for Calgary’s first goal. That’s becoming a trend this season and it needs to stop.

The Wings came out slow again. Howard kept them in it but he shouldn’t have to.

Calgary outshot Detroit 36-30. Part of that is the slow start but shots were 15-10 in favor of the Flames in the third period. The Wings’ need to control the puck more to limit opposition shots.

Red Wings – Flames Pregame Notes

The Red Wings are back at it tonight after a four-night break, hosting the Calgary Flames.

Johan Franzen will return to the lineup, missing only one game after taking an elbow to the face from Mark Fistric in Dallas last week. That’s the only lineup change for Detroit, with no one coming out as the team iced only seventeen skaters last Sunday.

Jimmy Howard gets the start in net. Calgary may be going with their backup, Henrik Karlsson.

Draper to Have Surgery, Out 4-6 Weeks

Detroit Red Wings forward Kris Draper will miss four-to-six weeks after discovering he needs sports hernia surgery.

Draper met with specialist Dr. William Meyers in Philadelphia on Wednesday and confirmed that the injury that has kept him out of every game of the season would require surgery to repair.

Detroit general manager Ken Holland confirmed that the team would not call up any players to replace Draper on the roster, as Johan Franzen will return to the lineup Thursday against Calgary and Justin Abdelkader is expected to return from his rib injury soon.

Kronwall’s OT Goal Lifts Red Wings over Coyotes

Detroit defenseman Niklas Kronwall scored with 16 seconds left in overtime Saturday night, carrying the Red Wings to a 2-1 win over the Phoenix Coyotes.

Kronwall fired a shot from the high slot through a screen set by Danny Cleary and over the shoulder of Phoenix goalie Ilya Bryzgalov to win the game for Detroit.

The goal came with seven seconds remaining in the Red Wings’ eighth power play of the night. They had been held scoreless with the extra attacker until that point.

The Coyotes had opened the scoring with ten seconds remaining in the first period.

After winning a faceoff in the Detroit end, the Coyotes worked the puck down to the corner. Martin Hanzel jumped to open space in the slot and Wojtek Wolski sent the puck to him for a one-timer past Red Wings goaltender Jimmy Howard.

Pavel Datsyuk evened the game up at 7:03 of the second when his centering attempt to Patrick Eaves deflected off the skate of Lee Stempniak and slipped past Bryzgalov.

Bryzgalov stopped 31 of 33 shots on the night while Howard made 25 saves on 26 Phoenix chances.

Detroit held the Coyotes scoreless on four power play tries.

The Red Wings are now off until Thursday when they host the Calgary Flames to begin a four-game homestand.

The Red Wings iced only 17 skaters, with Johan Franzen, Kris Draper and Justin Abdelkader all out of the lineup due to injury.

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