Tuesday, April 11, 2006

GameDay: vs. Edmonton (39-27-13, 91 Pts) 7:30 ET

Update (2:07 PM): Turns out Valtteri Fillpula won't be filling in after all. The Wings called up 29-year-old Don MacLean from Grand Rapids, Ansar Khan reports. MacLean, who will replace Lang in the lineup tonight, has a franchise-record 52 goals this season with the Griffins and could very well win the AHL MVP award this Friday. I have to admit I don't know a lot about him but it sounds like he's got some scoring punch, to put it mildly. Anyone who knows the Griffins better have any comments? Khan says Zetterberg is going to play tonight. -- Matt Update (2:47 PM): Interesting information in the Griffins' press release announcing his move-up: MacLean has played for three different NHL teams, most recently with Columbus, where he played 4 games in 2003-2004. According to the press release, his only goal of that season came against the Wings on March 31st, 2004, in a 3-2 Columbus loss. His last NHL game was April 3rd, 2004 in Detroit, a 4-1 Jackets win in the last game of the regular season. -- Matt Tonight is the fourth and final regular season game between these two teams. Edmonton leads the series 2-1, with with overtime wins November 3rd in Detroit (4-3) and November 17th in Edmonton (6-5). Detroit won the latest meeting, 4-3 in a shootout on March 18th. The Wings have won their last four, though two of those wins came over Columbus this past weekend. They had to rely on a shootout to beat Calgary on the 3rd, 2-1, but used their power play to great effect on the league's best penalty killing team, Minnesota, the day before, winning 3-2. They lead 4-1 at one point against the Jackets on Friday night but the score ended up tied 5-5 and the game went to overtime and then a shootout, fortunately resulting in a 6-5 win for the Wings. The next night, they won a little more decisively in Columbus, 4-2. Manny Legace should be in net tonight after getting Saturday's game off. Chris Osgood had a great game, though, and is poised to take Manny's spot should he falter. As mentioned yesterday, Robert Lang was injured at the start of practice yesterday and is questionable for tonight with an "upper body" injury. IwoCPO detects some subterfuge on Babcock's part, given the fact that the injury occurred before the press had arrived at practice. If he's right, I like this head coach even more. Henrik Zetterberg is listed as "probable" by the Freep and should be in the lineup unless something develops during the day. Mathieu Schneider will remain out with a groin injury. Valtteri Filppula has not been recalled to Detroit yet but may be, depending on the situation with Zetterberg and Lang. Since playing the Wings on March 18th, the Oilers have gone 5-4-2 and have alternated wins and losses since their March 26 shootout win over Colorado. They are coming off a heartless 2-1 loss to St. Louis on Sunday in which they could have clinched a playoff spot had they won. As a result, head coach Craig MacTavish did not run practice yesterday, leaving it instead to his assistants. The Edmonton Journal quotes Chris Pronger as saying, "I think he just needed it (a break from the players) because he probably wanted to kill everyone." Pronger also told the paper, "I'm sure it was disappointing to see the way we responded in what was a pivotal game for us." You sure, Chris? Maybe it should have been disappointing to you, too. Anyway, the Oilers' captain, Jason Smith, was a little more encouraging for Edmonton fans, saying, "We're going to come out and we're going to play well." Dwayne Roloson should get the start tonight. The Wings need just one point to clinch the President's Trophy and given the fact that these teams have skated into extra time in each of their three previous games, getting that point ought not to be a problem. Then they can forget about it, because, although it's nice and shiny, it's not what this team is after and it's not enough to satisfy expectations. This is a possible first round match-up and tonight is a good opportunity for the Wings to show they can beat the Oilers because they may very well need to do it four times starting in a couple weeks. Whatever their performance in their important game on Sunday, you can bet Edmonton will come to play tonight. Also, Ted Kulfan takes a page from Christy's book (original) in today's Detroit News.


At 4/11/2006 03:02:00 PM, Anonymous Megan said...

Ok, I go to all sorts of Griffins games. MacLean is amazing. He's all over the place. Not only does he score, he gets a lot of assists. He's fun to watch. And he certainly doesn't shy away from the physical play, like Hudler tends to. It'll be interesting to see how he does in the NHL. This is a great chance for Don. Hopefully he'll be back for the Griffins final game on Saturday (which I am going to).


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