KINGS VS RED WINGS GAME PREVIEW – THE RETURN OF WILLIE MITCHELL
These guys again?
They are supposed to be good or something, right? So goes the word on the street.
Word in Los Angeles is that we kicked these shmos out of our town last week. Silly of them to invite us over to their place, they must be gluttons for punishment. Some say its a symptom of winning so much, like an unbeaten fighter who secretly pains to be KO’ed, just to get the inevitable over and done with, while others say its a remnant of the 1980′s, a time that was kind to neither hairstyles nor Detroit. Either way, tonight as the Kings stroll into Joe Louis Arena, they will be happy to oblige the Detroit Red Wings with their 10th loss of the season.
While the ever-lasting fantasy that runs through my head recalls a shellacking, the fact is the Kings just squeaked out an overtime win, albeit a gloriously uplifting one, against the Red Wings back on December 4th. Since then, the Kings have played some very solid, if not powerplay deficient, hockey. Though they come off a highly disappointing overtime loss to the Minnesota Wild, nothing about said defeat is cause for concern in tonight’s contest as the Kings played solid defense, had numerous offensive chances and despite the game being admittedly lost by the stick of Jonathan Quick, the Kings’ #1 turned in an otherwise strong performance in net. We knew his stick handling would get him in trouble eventually. Its to be expected but not to be overly worried about. The powerplay is a different story.
The big news for tonight is the return of Willie Mitchell. Expected to be paired with Jack Johnson, Mitchell will force Peter Harrold out of the lineup, good news for the surprisingly solid and consistent Alec Martinez who maintains his pairing with Matt Greene. As is always the case with injuries, we can not expect Mitchell to be up to full speed, however his injection into the lineup is very welcome as his absense was sorely and obviously missed. Besides his stellar stick work, physicality and positioning, Mitchell will add a much greater ability to move the puck out of the zone than the Kings have had in the past. He will also help if the Kings find themselves with only three-men on the ice… but enough about that Minnesota game.
For Detroit, the only significant injury is to Mike Modano, recovery from wrist surgery.
The Wings must always be respected as an opponent, but never feared. This Kings team is just regaining its confidence and must maintain it going into this game. Should they come out with another victory over one of the NHL’s best teams, they will leave with a high that could help them greatly in the upcoming weeks which feature the most tightly packed cluster of games the Kings have seen this season.
A final note,
Tomas Holmstrom is a schmuck and screw Pavel Datsyuk.
Always and forever,
GO KINGS GO!