Gameday Preview: Detroit Rock City

Kent Wilson
November 21 2010 10:30AM

DETROIT,MI - OCTOBER 30: Henrik Zetterberg  of the Detroit Red Wings waits for a face-off in a game against the Nashville Predators on October 30,2010 at the Joe Louis Arena in Detroit , Michigan. The Wings defeated the Predators 5-2. (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images)

 

If there is any truth at all to the notion that team's can "build momentum" off of big victories, then the Flames are going to need all the inertia they can muster form the 7-2 drubbing of the Blackhawks in order to get by the Detroit Red Wings this afternoon.

The best team in the west has lost just three times in their first 17 games and have a +17 goal differential. The record isn't a fluke. The last time the Flames saw the Wings, a portion of their roster was under water in terms of possession. Modano, Hudler, Cleary, Eaves - most of the bottom six in fact.

Not anymore. Pretty much every regular DET skater is in the black, with all the big guns leading the parade. Henrik Zetterberg is one such player at the top of the list with a per hour corsi rate +17.23. That's a great stat, but what's amazing is Zetteberg is managing it with a zone start ratio of 38.9% (!!!). Those are scary good numbers. I dare say, if Pavel Datsyuk* doesn't win the Selke trophy again this year, Henrik Zetterberg probably should.

DETROIT,MI - OCTOBER 30: Pavel Datsyuk  of the Detroit Red Wings salutes the crowd upon being named first star in a game against the Nashville Predators on October 30,2010 at the Joe Louis Arena in Detroit , Michigan. The Wings defeated the Predators 5-2. (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images)
 

*(Pavel isn't too far behind at +14.17/60 and a 40% zone start.)

As per usual when playing Detroit in Detroit, there isn't a lot of weaknesses to exploit. Babcock can control the match-ups so what little leverage you might have against the Wings is essentially gone. No help on special teams eitehr - Detroit is top 10 in both PP and PK. The only way for a club like the Flames to win is to play well and hope for DET to play (relatively) poorly. So here's hoping for a big serving of both today.

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Former Nations Overlord. Current FN contributor and curmudgeon For questions, complaints, criticisms, etc contact Kent @ kent.wilson@gmail. Follow him on Twitter here.
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#1 dickshilling
November 21 2010, 10:59AM
Trash it!
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Still not sold on Howard necessarily. Probably won't be lazy as Turco (ie will utilize butterfly) but as I so gleefully proclaimed last night, shots shots shots

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#3 Scott
November 21 2010, 12:56PM
Trash it!
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I think Howard is a perfect example of the team finding a goalie that fits their system.

He is prone to a few mistakes a game, but the system that detroit has mitigates those mistakes.

I shudder to think of what would happen if he were to be the goalie for a defensive minded team, like Calgary or Minnesota.

That seems to be the MO for Detriot, finding the right players that fit their system, they don't draft based on draft order, or like Calgary, drafting big defensivemen regardless of need. They have a great understanding of their weaknesses and they draft to improve on those.

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