CALGARY, AB – A Western Conference powerhouse, the Detroit Red Wings haven’t missed the playoffs since the 1989-90 season – earning four Stanley Cup Championships during that span.
But after the retirements of future hall-of-fame defenceman and seven-time Jammes Norris Trophy winner Nicklas Lidstrom and perennial thorn Tomas Holmstrom this offseason, many have projected the Red Wings are primed to be clipped.
New captain Henrik Zetterberg and constant threat Pavel Datsyuk are poised to ensure that will not happen under their watch. The pair are both in the top-20 in National Hockey League scoring.
If that duo continues to shine and Detroit can get solid goaltending out of starter Jimmy Howard, the team will be poised to keep flying yet again.
THREE PLAYERS TO WATCH
Center - DET
GOALS: 4 | ASST: 2 | PTS: 6
SOG: 29 | +/-: 1
Dipping into the European ranks in a similar fashion Calgary did with Roman Cervenka, the Red Wings nabbed Brunner and have to be pleased with his performance thus far. The Zurich, Switzerland product has produced well, scoring four times in eight games for the Red Wings this season and also has a Datsyukian shootout winner to his credit as well. Earning just $1.35 million this season, Brunner has proved to be an early-season steal for Detroit.
Center - DET
GOALS: 3 | ASST: 7 | PTS: 10
SOG: 15 | +/-: 6
Though he’s a four-time Lady Byng Trophy winner, Datsyuk’s treatment of opposing goalies is anything but gentlemanly. The six-time 25-goal scorer is known for his sparkling creativity and dazzling hands, making him one of the league’s craftier shootout players as well. With 10 points through the season’s first eight games, Datsyuk continues to be a threat opposing goaltenders watch for.
Left Wing - DET
GOALS: 5 | ASST: 7 | PTS: 12
SOG: 34 | +/-: 4
Zetterberg, named Detroit’s captain after the retirement of Niklas Lidstrom, currently leads all Red Wings in goals (5) and points (12). The former Conn Smythe and Frank J. Selke Trophy winner has been one of the league’s most dynamic forwards for the better part of a decade and Wayne Gretzky went so far as to tell NHL.com, “I think he’s the best Swedish player they’ve ever put into the National Hockey League, and there has been a lot of great ones, from (Borje) Salming to (Nicklas) Lidstrom.”
BY THE NUMBERS
Record This Season: 4-3-1
Calgary’s Record Head-To-Head Last Year: 2-2-0
Calgary’s Record All-Time: 63-64-16-4
Record Last Season: 48-28-6 (5th in Western Conference)
Top Scorers vs. Flames: Ian White – 2G 3A 5P
Flames Top Scorers: Olli Jokinen – 2G 3A 5P
Recent Transactions: Recalled Tomas Tatar from Grand Rapids