Update (4:16 PM): Ericsson is questionable for the game, reports Ansar Khan. Apparently, he’s sick (team won’t say it’s flu) and skipped practice. Meech’ll be in if Ericsson ends up not being able to go. – Matt
The long awaited end to this miserable road trip…
… 10:00 PM ET start. But daylight savings time ends tonight, so you’ll gain an hour of available sleep time.
… The Flames are 7th in the West right now at 7-3-1 and 15 points. They’re 5-2-0 at home.
… They had a three-game win streak going heading into a game against Colorado Wednesday, but that ended when they lost 3-2. Prior to their win streak, they had a skid of three games (0-2-1).
… This cheesetastic Calgary Sun piece (“Iginla and Olli Jokinen each rippled the mesh in the opening 70 seconds against the Avalanche”!) tells me the Flames have scored 20 of 42 goals (43, says NHL.com) this season in the first period. They’re going to come out hard.
… Somehow, the Flames are injury-free at the moment. Wish the Wings could have that kind of luck.
… Miikka Kiprusoff (who else?) will start for the Flames. He’s posting some pretty crappy numbers so far this season: 3.09 GAA and .898 save-percentage. But he does have seven wins.
… This is the Wings’ first Halloween game since the 2001-2002 season. They’re 1-3-0-0 in Halloween games since 1997-1998. The ’98 loss to Dallas (5-1) sticks out in my memory as a particularly bad game.
… The Wings have managed to get just four of a possible eight points so far on this trip. They’ll look to earn the remaining possible two tonight.
… Ville Leino is a healthy scratch tonight, which is a move I can live with. Ville has had encouraging moments this season, but they’re becoming fewer and farther between. He could use a jolt. The guy’s obviously committed to playing in the NHLâ€”his willingness to play in the AHL last season rather than pull a Ryno is evidence enough of that. He could just use a reminder that it’s not a free ride and that a roster spot isn’t guaranteed him.
… That said, sitting Leino a game after Filppula went down with a broken wrist is an interesting move by Babcock.
… The units used in the skate yesterday (via Khan):
Eaves will evidently see some power play time as a reward for his strong game Thursday.
The top line has some potential. As John pointed out in the comments yesterday, Bertuzzi and Datsyuk seem to develop some solid chemistry over the course of the Edmonton game. Here’s hoping it sticks tonight.
The second unit can work if Cleary can step it up and get over that 100 goal hump. And if Williams works hard. Zetterberg’ll need to try to avoid attempting to do it all himself.
The third line’s got a lot of speed and some physicality. Could be a good one tonight.
The fourth… seems like a potential penalty fest.
… The defensive pairings remain, disappointingly, unchanged. Babs is still going with the mixed up top four, and is leaving Lebda and Ericsson together.
… Chris Osgood will get back in the saddle tonight after one of his worst outings in years Tuesday. Here’s hoping he brought his head to Calgary.
… The Flames apparently like coming at teams early. The Wings have been flat out awful at defending against early pushes in their last couple games. That has to change tonight. Better goaltending would obviously help, but they need to be better defensively as a team as well. The goalie shouldn’t be called upon to bail you out so early in a game.
They need these points. Go get them, guys.
… I plan on livetweeting the game tonight: @OtW_InGame.