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Feb. 4: Week Ahead in Hockeytown

Red Wings play four games in six days this week

Monday, 02.4.2013 / 3:20 PM ET / News
By Bill Roose  - Managing Editor | DetroitRedWings.com
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Feb. 4: Week Ahead in Hockeytown

DETROIT – For the second time this season, the Red Wings will face a stretch of three games in four days when they travel to St. Louis on Thursday then return to the friendly confines of Joe Louis Arena for back-to-back games against Edmonton and Los Angeles this weekend.

But the action-packed week begins Tuesday when the Wings host former teammate Jiri Hudler and the Calgary Flames.

February is an important month for the Red Wings, who can capitalize on their favorable schedule. Detroit has eight games at home this month, including four straight beginning with the Oilers on Saturday.

“When you got the good schedule you have to take advantage of it,” coach Mike Babcock said.

Getting points, especially against teams, like the Flames, who are last place in the Western Conference standings, is critical if the Red Wings are to extend their 21 straight appearances in the Stanley Cup playoffs.

“Good team, dying for points,” said Babcock, of Calgary. “They’re a team that needs to play well and we need to play well. Plus they’ll have Huds in the lineup. We’re big fans of Huds here. We still wish he was a Red Wing, but that’s a decision guys make and we wish him luck every night except when he plays against us.”

This week in Hockeytown:

TUESDAY – vs. CALGARY FLAMES (1-3-2): The Flames head out on their first extended road trip of the season, heading to Detroit, Columbus and then Vancouver. Calgary limps into town with the league’s worst record, however, the Flames possess one of the league’s top power-play units, scoring six times on 25 opportunities with the man-advantage.

Hudler

PLAYER TO WATCH: Former Red Wings forward Jiri Hudler had two goals and an assist against Colorado last week. The speedy Czech has recorded two goals for five points in three games since joining his new club as a free agent during the off-season.

THURSDAY – at ST. LOUIS BLUES (6-2-0): The Western Conference leaders in scoring – with 30 goals in eight games – the Blues are 3-1-0 in one-goal games this season. A very good team at protecting the puck, St. Louis has coughed up the puck just 37 times. Only Columbus has fewer giveaways with 33.

Elliott

PLAYER TO WATCH: With starting goalie Jaroslav Halak placed on injured reserve on Sunday, backup Brian Elliot will likely get his first start against the Red Wings this season. Elliot is 2-5-1 with a 2.48 goals-against lifetime against the Red Wings. Halak suffered a lower body injury on Feb. 1 at Detroit.

SATURDAY – vs. EDMONTON OILERS (4-3-1): One the strongest power plays pay a visit to Joe Louis Arena in a special Saturday matinee. The Oilers’ special team is 11-for-38 (29 percent).

Yakupov

PLAYER TO WATCH: Nineteen-year-old forward Nail Yakupov (5G, 1A) has registered at least one point in four straight contests for the Oilers. The former Sarnia Sting star is currently tied with Tampa Bay’s Cory Conacher and St. Louis’s Vladimir Tarasenko for the league’s rookie lead in goals.

SUNDAY – vs. LOS ANGELES KINGS (2-3-2): The defending Stanley Cup champions have struggled in the first month of the season. The Kings are ranked 27th in the league with 2.14 goals per game, and only three players – Dustin Brown, Anze Kopitar and Jeff Carter - have scored more than once.

Quick

PLAYER TO WATCH: Jonathan Quick, the reigning Conn Smythe Trophy winner, had his last game end prematurely Saturday, as Anaheim chased him from the crease with two goals on just three shots in less than six minutes.

Follow Bill Roose on Twitter | @Bill_Roose

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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - WSH 82 56 18 8 252 193 120
2 x - PIT 82 48 26 8 245 203 104
3 y - FLA 82 47 26 9 239 203 103
4 x - NYR 82 46 27 9 236 217 101
5 x - NYI 82 45 27 10 232 216 100
6 x - TBL 82 46 31 5 227 201 97
7 x - PHI 82 41 27 14 214 218 96
8 x - DET 82 41 30 11 211 224 93
9 BOS 82 42 31 9 240 230 93
10 CAR 82 35 31 16 198 226 86
11 OTT 82 38 35 9 236 247 85
12 NJD 82 38 36 8 184 208 84
13 MTL 82 38 38 6 221 236 82
14 BUF 82 35 36 11 201 222 81
15 CBJ 82 34 40 8 219 252 76
16 TOR 82 29 42 11 198 246 69

STATS

2015-2016 PLAYOFFS
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
T. Tatar 5 0 3 1 3
M. Green 5 1 1 -1 2
A. Athanasiou 5 1 0 1 1
G. Nyquist 5 1 0 2 1
H. Zetterberg 5 1 0 3 1
J. Abdelkader 5 1 0 -3 1
B. Richards 5 1 0 -4 1
D. Helm 5 1 0 -1 1
D. Larkin 5 1 0 -2 1
N. Kronwall 5 0 1 3 1
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
P. Mrazek 1 2 0 .945 1.36
J. Howard 0 2 0 .891 3.59