RED WINGS (0-1-0) vs. BLUES (1-0-0), Stockholm
St. Louis took the opener in the 2009 Compuware NHL Premiere Stockholm, 4-3, thanks to a pair of goals from Paul Kariya, a goal and two assists from Jay McClement and 31saves by Chris Mason. Last season, Detroit won five of six against the Blues.
Will the Red Wings be able to respond and go home with a split? They didn't come all this way with eight Swedes, including icons like Nicklas Lidstrom and Henrik Zetterberg, to lose both games to a Central Division rival.
Showing the same fight and resiliency they had in the second half of last season, the Blues got off to exactly the start they wanted to. Kariya, who is coming off multiple hip surgeries, gives this lineup an infusion of skill and speed. We saw that
Friday night. If the Blues' fourth line of McClement, Alex Steen and B.J. Crombeen continue to play the way they did Friday -- they scored two goals and combined for four points -- the Blues' forward depth becomes as good as any team in the League.
Mike Babcock was non-committal on who he will start in net tonight,Chris Osgood or Jimmy Howard, but it's going to be interesting to see what he does. Osgood is the clear-cut No. 1 goalie, but he was average in stopping only 19 of 23 shots Friday. The Wings, though, can't turn the puck over like they did, and they need to find a way to get more out of Henrik Zetterberg's line. He, Dan Cleary and Todd Bertuzzi were limited in training camp and they looked a step behind Friday.
Everyone who drafted McClement in their fantasy hockey leagues, take a bow. You, of course, already knew that the Blues' fourth-line center would pick up a goal, two assists, five shots and a plus-2 rating in the first game of the season. Right?
Wings defenseman Jonathan Ericsson is questionable with an ankle injury. He took a shot off the area of his ankle just above the boot in the first period and couldn't play more than 1:03 in the second. If he can't go, Derek Meech will be inserted into the lineup, but the Wings lose a key player in the hulking Swede. The Blues have D.J.King(thumb) on IR. Darren Helm(shoulder)and Andreas Lilja (post-concussion symptoms) are on IR for the Wings.
In his first NHL game in 544 days, Blues defenseman Erik Johnson logged 16:01 of ice time, including 3:42 on the power play, and came away with a plus-2 rating. … Pavel Datsyuk led all players with a 69-percent success rate on faceoffs Friday night. He was 11-5. …Babcock wanted to keep all of his defensemen around 20 minutes of ice time, but Ericsson's injury forced Brad Stuart(25:46), Brian Rafalski(25:30),Nicklas Lidstrom(23:50) and Niklas Kronwall(24:35) to play way more than the coach wanted them to. Ericsson played only 4:06.
"Of course it was an awesome feeling(playing in Stockholm)," Kronwall, who is from Stockholm, told NHL.com following Friday's game. "It's always a great feeling to play here in the Globe. The fans are great and hopefully (Saturday) will be a better outcome for us."
-- Dan Rosen, NHL.com
Saturday, October 3, 2009
Regular Season Game 2 Preview
After a disappointing season opener, Detroit looks to split with St. Louis. Here is a game preview: