Game Day Notes: vs. Florida

… This is the only meeting between the Wings and Panthers this season. They’ve only played each other 22 times, ever. The Wings lead the all-time series stands at 13-4-5.

… The Panthers are 5-2-3 in their last ten, but only one of those wins came since the first four games of that segment. They lost three in a row before winning in Montreal on Tuesday. They then lost two more, including Friday’s 4-1 decision to the Jackets. Their five losses in their past six came against non-playoff teams.

… They’re holding down the third seed in the East, thanks to the Division leader privilege, but they have 8th seed Washington breathing down their necks with a two point deficit. They can clinch the division if they earn five points down the stretch or the Caps cough up five points. Or any combination of the two.

… There are a couple former Wings on the team: Mikael Samuelsson and Tomas Kopecky. So we can flash back to glorious scoring chances going wide of the net and freak injuries.

… They had the day off yesterday.

They’re without Jack Skille and Matt Bradley.

… Looks like Jose Theodore could be the starter.

… The Wings blew a chance at solidifying their fourth place position Friday night, instead ceding it to the Predators with a 4-1 loss. The loss was their second in a row, with the first coming Wednesday night against the Blue Jackets.

… They’re now in fifth place and sharing a points total with Chicago at 97. They have one more ROW than the Hawks and thus win the tie-breaker.

… The Hawks’ win over the Predators last night put them in that position and held Nashville back. Here’s a look at the final schedules for the three teams fighting for beta dog status in the Central:

4/1 vs. FLA vs. MIN
4/3 vs. MIN
4/4 @ STL
4/5 vs. NJD @ MIN vs. DAL
4/7 vs. CHI @ DET vs. COL

As you can see, the Wings have one game in hand on both Nashville and Chicago, but that game is against St. Louis. Which is somewhat unfair.

… The good news out of practice yesterday was that Babcock is considering reuniting Datsyuk and Nyquist, with Johan Franzen. Nothing’s official yet, but it is a promising development.

… Kyle Quincey will be back in after getting a “rest” game Friday. Ian White was the odd man out in practice, but that doesn’t for sure mean he’ll be the guy resting tonight.

… I get a kick out of this section from Khan’s morning piece:

Johan Franzen, back for two games after sitting out five with back spasms, needs to skate better and be more physical.

“That’s what I was focusing on, try to skate hard and try to play physical,” Franzen said.

… Apart from Darren Helm, Joey MacDonald and Patrick Eaves, the team is healthy.

… Jimmy Howard will start.

… The Wings need a win today. So do the Panthers. Which team will get their way? If the Wings want it, there’s no reason it shouldn’t be them.

It’s time to bring it all together and finish the season on a tear, starting today.