Saturday, March 25, 2006

GameDay: vs. Columbus (27-40-3, 57 Pts) 7:30 ET

Tonight is the sixth of eight games the Wings will play against the Jackets this season. They are 5-0 against them so far: 6-0 October 20th, 6-2 October 24th, 4-3 (SO) December 20th, 5-2 December 31st, and 4-0 January 8th. Not much competition from the other side. The Wings are coming off a strong 4-0 win over San Jose Thursday night, a game that followed a passable 3-2 home loss in a shootout to Nashville on Tuesday. The loss snapped the team's win streak at six straight, including wins over Edmonton, Vancouver, LA and Anaheim as well as two over Chicago. Tonight's game wraps up a three-game homestand (1-0-1) that will be followed by a three-game series with the rest of the Central Division teams, two on the road and one at home to finish the month. The Wings have signed Mikael Samuelsson for another three years, according to TSN. No details have come out yet but you can bet he's gotten a raise from the $537,500 he's making this year. I think Sammy's been consistent enough offensively and strong enough defensively to warrant a contract extension. He's not a flash in the pan and is a valuable part of the team now. Update (2:27 ET): The Freep has more here. Dan Cleary will not play tonight, the Freep reports. He wasn't feeling fully well yesterday and it looks like Babcock is going to give him another game off. Mark Mowers is stayin' alive! Ansar Khan reports Chris Osgood will start tonight. (via. A2Y) Khan also gets the obvious from Manny Legace:
If Detroit Red Wings captain Steve Yzerman appears to have an extra spring in his step of late, it might be because spring has arrived. "You know what it is? Playoffs are coming up,'' Wings goaltender Manny Legace said.
Thanks for the revelation, Ansar. The five people who didn't already know that are grateful. I believe I said that yesterday:
"If, at this point of the season, a surging Steve Yzerman doesn't make you quake in your skates, Western Conference, I don't know what will. Shades of 2002, dare I say it?"
See, Ansar? All you had to do was read this blog and you'd have saved making a trip to practice. The Blue Jackets snapped a five-game losing streak last night by beating the Flames 3-2 at home to wrap up a stretch of games against Pacific and Northwest Division opponents. Michael Arace of the Columbus Dispatch writes a stirring take on the game, citing it as an example of what the team is capable of and implying Jackets fans have playoff hopes if their team plays like that next season. The starter for tonight should be Pascal Leclaire. The Jackets have been rotating goalies for a while and Marc Denis was in net for their win last night. Most years, this game would be a doubtful one because the Wings should win. However, this year, the Wings haven't disappointed in their games against the Jackets so hopefully tonight will be more of the same. The Jackets' win last night could cause some concern but the Wings ought to be able to handle it.


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