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.
*(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.