Friday, October 28, 2011

Wings Welcome Familiar Foe

Detroit (5-2-0) VS San Jose (4-3-0)

The Red Wings will open their doors this evening to a team we've seen far too much of over the last two years. The San Jose Sharks come into Detroit with 8 points through 7 games, two less than Detroit, and the Wings will be looking to keep them at bay with Jimmy Howard back in net.  The #1 goaltender for Detroit was busy becoming a dad over the last few days, to which I want to wish him a hearty congratulations.  I--as well as many, I'm sure--hope that he gives his new son an early present: winning his first game back.

Ty Conklin, for all his efforts, came up short for the Wings in the last two matches against Columbus and Washington, and having the St. James Gate put firmly back into place might be what the Wings need to return to their winning ways.  Also, though Coach Mike Babcock has made it quite clear he's not happy with the overall performance of his players recently, it appears the first line of Datsyuk, Zetterberg, and Cleary will not be split, as they did continue to practice as a unit.

One thing to keep in mind going into this game: this is a slightly different Sharks team that Detroit faces tonight as opposed to the last two years.  One very visible difference is the jersey Ian White is wearing.  The former Sharks blueliner has found himself a home opposite one Nicklas Lidstrom, an address change ANY defenceman would welcome.  Also, some names like Dany Heatley and Devin Setoguchi have made their exit from the Sharks roster.  Setoguchi always seemed to have the Wings' number ever since the "Phantom Goal" he scored a few years back.  Anyone else remember that?  You know, the one where the puck went out of play, came back down off the mesh onto Setoguchi's stick, and he just slammed it into the back of the net and it counted? Yeah, since that, he just always seemed to find the back of the net against whatever Detroit goalie he faced, didn't matter.  Hopefully his change of scenery has nixed that little charm.

I'm hoping to see a class act performance tonight from none other than Jimmy Howard.  I really do believe he'll make the difference tonight.  The skaters will be much more confident with Jimmah manning the crease, and that should help the offense get back on its feet.

Enjoy the game, Wingnuts! Let's Go Red Wings!!