Wings' Second Half Starts on the Island
The Wings travel to Long Island tonight in the first game of the second half of the season. Detroit would like to improve their performance on the road (11-12) and have an opportunity against the Islanders currently sitting in last place in the East. It's not prudent to assume Detroit will have an easy time against the Islanders who have won the teams' last three meetings.
Jimmy Howard is back in net tonight and will be looking for his 100th career win after being denied by the Maple Leafs on Saturday. The Wings will go with the same lineup they used against Chicago in hopes of starting the second half strong. They will need to produce a stronger start than their weekend games to avoid succumbing to the Isles' dangerous duo of John Tavares and Matt Moulson.
A key story line could be special teams. Although the Islanders sit in the East's cellar, their power play is ranked 5th overall and could pose trouble for Detroit's 23rd ranked penalty kill.
Look for Henrik Zetterberg and Nick Lidstrom to lead the offensive charge. Zetterberg has only lit the lamp eight times this season and cannot be happy with this number so far. Lidstrom is a perennial second-half performer and should maintain this trend.
If Detroit can start fast, have solid play down all four lines and stay out of the box they should be able to get their first win in four against the Islanders and possibly take control of the Central Division.
The game starts at 7:00pm and you can follow live updates from TCL-Red Wings on Twitter.