Game Day Notes: @ Los Angeles

Update (4:34 PM): Sounds like Nick’s a little further from returning than we thought. – Matt

Update (2:30 PM): Khan with some details from the skate:

– Matt

… This is the fourth and final meeting between the Wings and Kings this season, with the series standing at 3-0-0 Detroit. The Wings have outscored LA 16-6 in their meetings so far, thanks largely to their 8-2 win on December 17th. The most recent meeting took place on Friday, with the Wings coming back to win 4-3 late.

… The Kings fit a game in between this one and Friday’s, beating the Blackhawks 3-2 in a shootout\. That win put them within a couple points of the 8th seed with 76 (to Colorado’s 78).

… That was their fourth win in six games as they’re making a push for that spot.

… The Kings played 14 of their past 18 away from home, so they may have a boost being at home for once.

… Jeff Carter has four goals and one assist in 8 games since joining the Kings last month. Two of those goals came in the past two games.

… The Kings are short just Simon Gagne.

… Jonathan Quick is the presumed starter for the Kings.

… The Wings are coming off a pair of games I missed because I was Up North this weekend. One of them was the comeback win over the Kings on Friday previously mentioned. The other was a 3-2 loss to division rival Nashville on Saturday.

… They now sit six points back of the Blues, who are 9-1-0 in their last 10. The good news is the Wings have a game in hand on them. The bad news is the Predators are just two back of them. Points every night are crucial.

… They’ll get some help on the injury front tonight, with Jimmy Howard returning. Nick Lidstrom, Pavel Datsyuk, Jonathan Ericsson, Jakub Kindl and Todd Bertuzzi remain out, however. Nick and Pavel are out at least two more games, while Bertuzzi’s looking at tomorrow night’s game in Anaheim. Kindl’s out for the trip, however, and Ericsson’s not close.

… Gustav Nyquist will be in tonight after playing three times in three nights over the weekend. Young legs.

… This is where I list the starter for the Wings, but I already did that.

… I also already said that points are critical for the Wings right now, but it bears repeating: points are critical for the Wings right now. If they don’t get points, they’re looking at fourth or fifth place. Neither is particularly attractive. If they can catch the Blues and take first, they’ll get whatever team ends up in 8th, whether that be the hot team that stole it or whichever group slid backwards into it. That can be a blessing or a curse, depending. But I’d rather that than a Central Division battle.

They face off against a desperate team tonight, but need to beat that desperation with some of their own.