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Kings-Red Wings Preview: Underlying Numbers

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Since we last met the Detroit Red Wings...

INJURED: Patrick Eaves (jaw), Jan Mursak (ankle), Chris Conner (fractured hand); for the Kings, Mitchell (groin) and Mike Richards (concussion).

SCRATCHED: Mike Commodore; Andrei Loktionov, Slava Voynov. John Stevens hates the Red Menace!

Possible lines:

Franzen-Datsyuk-Bertuzzi
Filppula-Zetterberg-Hudler
Cleary-Helm-Miller
Emmerton-Abdelkader-Holmstrom

Lidstrom-White
Kronwall-Stuart
Kindl-Ericsson

In net: Jimmy Howard

Possible Kings lineup:

Gagne-Kopitar-Brown
Penner-Stoll-Williams
Richardson-Lewis-Hunter
Clifford-Fraser-Westgarth

Scuderi-Doughty
Johnson-Martinez
Drewiske-Greene

Jonathan Quick

Game Outlook: Sorry, I'm not enthused by the idea of Hunter. He does take a hell of a lot of shots once he crosses the blue line, though. (This is Hunter's cue to score tonight.)

The Red Wings have rebounded from their slow start. As I pointed out before their last meeting in November, they were still a strong possession team. Worries about their skill were unfounded. Pavel Datsyuk has also rebounded nicely, and now leads the team with 32 points.

If anyone ever doubted Datsyuk's ability to do so, go take a long look in the mirror and then slap yourself. Five times if you're a Wings fan. Hmph.

As for the Kings, I wish I could predict a Detroit-like rebound. The best I can say right now is that they're a middling team going through a rough patch. The most terrible shooting luck in the league is balanced out by solid goaltending and defense. If their shooting percentage corrects, as it should, they are more likely to become a playoff team than a division leader.

At least they have something to build on after battling back in the third in Columbus.