Thursday, April 2, 2009

Game Preview: Blues at Wings

Red Wings (48-19-9, 107 pts)
Blues (37-31-9, 83 pts)

Blues Outlook: The Blues are on fire lately. 6-3-1 in their last 10 while pushing for the playoffs. I had previously written them off for playoff contention but they've done everything to prove me wrong. They currently sit one point behind Nashville/Anaheim for 7/8 spot in the Western Conference. They dropped their last contest to the Blackhawks by a score of 3-1 but had won their previous 5 matches. The Blues are a dangerous team down the stretch, with nothing to lose and everything to gain.

Red Wings Outlook: Lately, we've looked really vulnerable. And that's bad, really bad. It seems that either teams are figuring out our defensive scheme or that we're just not playing 100% which is a dangerous trap to fall in heading into the first round of the playoffs. We've gone from being ahead of San Jose to 4 points behind them for top spot in the West/League with a mere 6 games remaining, all against playoff bound teams or teams just points shy. I think the loss of Andreas Lilja has been bigger than people have made it out to be. Although Grand Rapids call up and future fulltime Wing Jonathan Ericsson is a little taller, I think Lilja uses his body more effectively and engages opposing players more often. Hopefully our young and speedy defense can step it up in anticipation of Round 1. Another note for tonight, Brian Rafalski (groin) is listed as out for the game.

What to Look for: A lot of physical play. Longtime bitter rivals only show more aggression and heart when one of their post-season life is on the line. From St. Louis: Brad Boyes, David Perron, Keith Tkachuk, and Chris Mason. From Detroit: Marian Hossa, Dan Cleary, Johan Franzen, and Brad Stuart.

Puck drops at 7:30 PM ET and as always, GO WINGS!!

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