Tuesday, December 06, 2005

GameDay: vs. New Jersey (13-10-2, 28 Pts) 7:30 ET

Tonight is the one and only game between the Wings and Devils this season. Detroit won the last meeting of these two clubs, on January 29, 2004, a 5-2 decision at home. The Wings have beaten the Devils six straight times at the Joe, dating back to November 1996. The Wings will look to hold off being swept in their short three-game homestand. They lost the first two, dropping a game to Calgary last Thursday and then to the Islanders on Sunday. They have won just three of their last ten games and have scored just 3 goals in their last two. To jumpstart the offense and make up for Robert Lang's absence, Jiri Hudler will be inserted into the lineup tonight. He will play on a line with Pavel Datsyuk and Brendan Shanahan, both papers report (Freep, News). Henrik Zetterberg will center Mikael Samuelsson and Jason Williams on a new line. The Devils have had a tough year compared to previous seasons, though they are 4-1-0 in their last five, a stretch that includes an 8-goal explosion against the Lightning on November 25. They started off December with a win over Minnesota, 3-2 in OT on Saturday and will continue against Western Conference opponents until the 13th, when they play Edmonton at home. I expect Jimmy Howard to continue his string of starts. Chris Osgood has moved to the backup position, apparently. (Freep) A few years ago, this came could have been a Finals preview. This year, it's more a battle between declining former powers who may or may not still have it in them to compete for the Cup. Still, it should be a good game.


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