Entering last night's game, Carolina had eight consecutive wins at the Bell/Molson Centre, dating back to the lockout. The 5-1 win stretched that streak to nine, including postseason. Detroit is a different tale altogether. Carolina won game one of the 2002 Stanley Cup Final at the Joe, but aside from that, Carolina/Hartford hasn't won a game there since 1989. Unless I have it wrong, that's a run of 0-10-0-2. Throw in the 2002 Stanley Cup, and it's 1-12-0-2. That's a terrible record.
Thanks in large part to that 2002 Stanley Cup disaster, the Hurricanes count Detroit as one of their rivals. They don't fool themselves into thinking that the feeling is reciprocated, but it's always a big game against the Wings. Carolina has done a little better against the Winged Wheel at the RBC Center, but not at the Joe.
Ray Whitney will be playing there for the first time since they bought out his contract coming out of the lockout. He's not looking at it as a sort of homecoming. He doesn't say so, but I think it has to be a red letter game, going against a team that essentially threw him away.
Chad LaRose, who is from nearby Fraser, Michigan is viewing this as a homecoming. He's snatched up about 60 tickets for relatives and friends. He's played in the Joe before, but not as a professional. As a seven year old, his team played a game there. According to Lord Stanley's Blog, he has a painful memory of that game
“I had a penalty shot and I missed,” LaRose said. “I cried all the way home.”Defenseman Tim Gleason is also from the Detroit area. His hometown of Clawson is just 20 miles north of the Motor City. The paper doesn't mention it, but I'm sure he's got dozens of friends and family there as well.
In order for Fox Sports South to air "The best damn archery shots" or "the best damn arm wrestling bouts" or some other such dreck, they won't show this game. Their excuse is that there's a college basketball game scheduled to air at 7:30. One that doesn't feature any of the teams from the FSS viewing area. You can still catch the game on Center Ice. Fox Sports Detroit is also scheduled to show a college basketball game at 7:30, but they're going to air the Red Wings game in its entirety, sacrificing the first seven minutes of the basketball game, joining it in progress.
I wonder why FSS didn't consider the option of running the hockey game in its entirety, picking up the basketball game on a (roughly) seven minute tape delay, then catching up to live time during halftime. Seems like that would work.
Anyway, it doesn't matter. I'll pick up the FSN Detroit broadcast.
The Red Wings have been off since Friday, and are a red hot team. They're leading the league in goals per game at 3.36. Carolina is third with 3.2. Also, they're third in the league in goals allowed per game at 2.21 while Carolina is 23rd at 2.93.
Chris Osgood, who has a league best 1.79 Goals Against Average, will thankfully have the night off. Dominik Hasek, though, is no slouch. His numbers this season are way less scary than they used to be, but he's still "The Dominator".
Carolina will be very tired. They played in Montréal last night while the Wings were sleeping. However, they skated seven defensemen and really only rolled three lines last night. Since there was one healthy scratch (Jeff Hamilton) and two guys (Craig Adams, Trevor Letowski) who played sparingly on the fourth line, they'll be asked to contribute a lot tonight. Chad LaRose is all geeked up, so there won't be any problem getting effort from him, but it's going to be hard for the other guys.
The second period will be the deal. That's when fatigue will most likely be the biggest factor working against the Canes. Maybe, just maybe, they'll get lucky and catch the Wings napping. I wouldn't bank on it though.
Around the Wings blogosphere: