The Detroit Red Wings are hoping to notch their longest winning streak since 2012 with a win over the Florida Panthers on Tuesday.
After beating the Vancouver Canucks 5-3 on Sunday, Detroit matched its highest winning streak of last year at four games.
However, this game against the Panthers has trap game written all over it and here’s why.
It’s a Trap…Game
The Red Wings just came off a big win against one of the top teams in the Western Conference in the Canucks. The Western Conference has been the cream of the crop for the NHL, winning four of the past five Stanley Cups.
The Red Wings struggled against the Western Conference last year, going 13-10-5. However, whether it’s because the Red Wings are better this year or because the West is weaker, Detroit is 4-1 against the West, with the lone loss coming to the Anaheim Ducks on a controversial no hooking call on Niklas Kronwall that led to a Ryan Getzlaf goal with 24 seconds left.
After coming off a big win, it’s not uncommon for a team to relax against a weaker opponent — enter: the Panthers. Florida currently sits in sixth place in the Atlantic Division with 26 points. They aren’t as bad as Buffalo, Columbus or Edmonton, but they won’t be competing for a playoff spot this year.
With that being said, this isn’t a team the Red Wings should overlook. They have a lot of young talent and can steal a win if the Red Wings don’t play a full 60 minutes. They had impressive wins over the San Jose Sharks and Ducks in November, and took the Nashville Predators to a shootout a little more than a week ago.
And despite their lack of success last year, the Red Wings struggled against the Panthers, going 1-2-2 losing every single home game against Florida.
It’s vital the Red Wings get off to a quick start and get the crowd at Joe Louis Arena into the game early.
Weiss Looking for Success Against Former Team
Stephen Weiss played in just two of the five games against his former team last year, and he didn’t have a lot to write home about. He registered just one shot and was a minus-1 in the two losses. Those two games were also his last two of the 2013-14 season.
So far this season, Weiss has five points (three goals, two assists) in five games. Justin Abdelkader’s absence from the lineup will not affect Weiss’ position, as he will stay on the third line wing with Tomas Jurco and Darren Helm.
With newly found confidence, I expect Weiss to have a great game against his former team. Even if his name doesn’t show up on the score sheet, he will no doubt be making a difference in the game.
Morning Skate Canceled
During the game Sunday, the power at Joe Louis went out just 29 seconds into the game. The power was restored immediately, but the metal halide at JLA requires 15 minutes to return to full illumination, according to MLive.com’s Ansar Khan.
The power went out again right before the Red Wings were scheduled to take the ice Tuesday for morning skate.
Lights went out just before players were scheduled to hit the ice. pic.twitter.com/DXmwyV4jdE
— Ansar Khan (@AnsarKhanMLive) December 2, 2014
No power at JLA and most of downtown…no morning skate (obviously)
— Ted Kulfan (@tkulfan) December 2, 2014
It looks like it’s not just Joe Louis Arena that is affected, but a good portion of downtown Detroit. Hopefully, the problem is rectified by the time the teams take the ice for the game at 7:30 p.m.
Despite the possibility of it affecting the game tonight, Red Wings coach Mike Babcock hasn’t lost his sense of humor.
No power at Joe Louis Arena so no Red Wings skate. What’s Mike Babcock going to do? “I get to go to Tim Horton’s and have a cup of coffee.”
— Helene St. James (@HeleneStJames) December 2, 2014
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Tom Mitsos is a Detroit Red Wings and Grand Rapids Griffins staff writer for The Hockey Writers. You can follow him on Twitter @tom_mitsos.