Yesterday was a quiet day in the Central Division with just one game on the schedule, but four teams are in action tonight.
Around The Central Division: January 26, 2013
Detroit Red Wings 5, Minnesota Wild 3
The Red Wings’ defense continues to suffer, but its offense finally woke up last night against the Wild. Pavel Datsyuk had a goal and two assists and Todd Bertuzzi, who doesn’t have mono, picked up his first two goals of the season as the Wings laid a little Joe Louis Arena smack down on Minnesota. It was an ugly game with 36 penalty minutes doled out by the zebras, including 10 for fighting between Justin Falk and Justin Abdelkader:
That’s about how it’s gone for Minnesota so far this season: they got two good punches in and went down to the first hard one they took. Zach Parise scored two more goals last night and continues to pay dividends for the Wild. But that big free-agent defenseman they picked up (what’s his name again?) is a team-worst −4 with just one assist in four games. After a 2-0 start, the team is now at .500 after two ugly losses and probably wonders what happened.
There’s a first time for everything. Yesterday came and went without a Central Division team making a transaction…not even Detroit wrangling some journeyman from the local beer league to play defense.
Points: Patrick Kane (CHI) – 7
Goals: Marian Hossa (CHI) – 5
Assists: Patrick Kane (CHI), Kevin Shattenkirk (STL) - 5
PIM: Derek Dorsett (CBJ) – 19
Wins: Corey Crawford (CHI) – 3
GAA: Chris Mason (NSH) – 1.00
SV%: Chris Mason (NSH) – .967
The Preds make their first visit to California today as their seven-game road trip continues. Elsewhere, Chicago visits Columbus with designs of becoming the first team in the NHL to reach 10 points, and St. Louis invades the Lone Star State.
Nashville Predators at Anaheim Ducks
9:30 p.m. CST
FOX Sports Tennessee
Two years ago Nashville (1-1-2) beat the Anaheim Ducks (2-1-0) in the playoffs for their first-ever series victory. This team is mostly the same other than its new coach, Bruce Boudreau, who migrated to sunny Anaheim after the success-phobic Capitals let him go last season. The Ducks started strong this week but flew into a wall in their home opener against Vancouver last night. Jonas Hiller played the entire 5-0 loss, so one of the Ducks’ off-season free agent signings may get a look between the pipes tonight. Viktor Fasth, 29, has been the Swedish Elitserien goalie of the year two seasons running.
@predlinesnsh smaller goalie, only 5’11″-175, but coaches have marveled at his agility and quick reflexes.
— they call me Beaker (@ddb_sean) January 26, 2013
Sign of the times: 5’11″ is small for a goalie. Beasts like Pekka Rinne have wrecked the curve; no room for Darren Pang or a six-hole in today’s game. Have a gander at my preview, or fly on over to Ducks Daily.
Chicago Blackhawks at Columbus Blue Jackets
6:00 p.m. CST
The mismatch of the night for the entire NHL sees the Central Division-leading Blackhawks (4-0-0) drop in on the Blue Jackets (1-2-1), who have dropped like a rock after teasing their fans with a shootout win in Nashville on Opening Night.
Chicago is undefeated in four games and is averaging 4.25 goals per game. Their defense is a relative weak spot that still hasn’t really been exploited this season, butit’s unlikely to leak too much tonight. The Blue Jackets have only scored one goal in their last 136 minutes and 17 seconds of hockey. Exuberant Blue Jackets Fan doesn’t mind that a bit. Nor will the gang at Blackhawk Up.
St. Louis Blues at Dallas Stars
7:00 p.m. CST
St. Louis (3-1-0) looks to keep pace with Chicago, the only team that’s beaten them so far this season, and they’ll have a minor test in Dallas. The Stars (2-1-1) have made the most of management’s foray into senior-citizen free agency so far this season, as two 40-year-olds lead their team in scoring. Both Jaromir Jagr and Ray Whitney have four points apiece, but they’re two of just nine Stars players who have scored in their four games. Dallas will have to contend with a Blues power play that’s clicking at a league-best 53.8 percent.