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Rivalry Night on NBCSN: Red Wings look to Howard to stand tall vs Kings

Apr 24, 2013, 8:05 AM EDT

LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 27: Anze Kopitar #11 of the Los Angeles Kings skates with the puck against Jonathan Ericsson #52 of the Detroit Red Wings at Staples Center on February 27, 2013 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Noah Graham/NHLI via Getty Images) Getty Images

Tonight the Detroit Red Wings will host the Los Angeles Kings at 7:30 p.m. ET at Joe Louis Arena. This Rivalry Night game will be on NBCSN and can be watched online.

The Red Wings took a step towards extending their historic 21-season postseason appearance streak with Monday’s 4-0 victory against the Phoenix Coyotes, but their work is far from done.

Detroit is still a point behind the eighth place Columbus Blue Jackets, but the silver lining for Detroit is that they still have three games left to play to the Blue Jackets’ two. Detroit’s also leading in ROW (wins excluding shootout victories), which will be the difference if the teams finish the season with the same number of points.

This game has meaning for the Los Angeles Kings too. After losing yesterday, the Kings now have the same number of points as the San Jose Sharks as they battle for fourth place in the Western Conference.

Although the Kings were able to win regardless of where they played during the 2012 playoffs, they have a 18-4-1 home record this season and are below .500 on the road. With that in mind, the defending Stanley Cup champions would probably benefit from securing home ice advantage for the first round if they can get it.

So far these two teams have split their season series, but the Kings’ task might be a little bit harder this time around because Detroit could get back 38-year-old forward Todd Bertuzzi.

Bertuzzi, who has been dealing with back and leg problems, is “close” to returning, according to Red Wings GM Ken Holland via the Detroit Free Press. A final determination will be made after the morning skate.

Even if Bertuzzi is back though, it will be goaltender Jimmy Howard that will make or break the Red Wings.

“He has to,” Babcock told the Detroit News when asked if Howard can carry the team. “It’s not about ‘can.’ He has to.”

On the Kings’ side, Jeff Carter has been phenomenal this season with 26 goals in 46 games. He has found the back of the net in each of his last two contests and his goals have come in bunches this season, so it wouldn’t be shocking to see him beat Howard tonight.

Kings forward Anze Kopitar is another one to keep an eye on. He hasn’t scored in roughly a month, but has still been productive with nine assists in 11 April games.

Probable goaltenders: DET – (18-13-7, 2.22 GAA, .921 SV%) | LAK – Jonathan Quick (17-12-4, 2.44 GAA, .901 SV%)

Top scorers: DET – Pavel Datsyuk (13-28-41, 44 GP) and Henrik Zetterberg (9-32-41, 43 GP) | LAK – Kopitar (10-31-41, 45 GP)

Notable Injuries:
Detroit – Forwards: Drew Miller (hand), Mikael Samuelsson (upper body), Bertuzzi (leg – questionable), Darren Helm (back)
Los Angeles – Defensemen: Willie Mitchell (knee)

  1. valoisvipers - Apr 24, 2013 at 9:45 AM

    The Wings have missed the in front of the net havoc that a player like Bertuzzi brings to a game.Sure they miss Lidstrom but they also miss Holmstrom and his net presence. Keep the streak alive boys! Hawks/Wings first round would be great hockey to watch.

  2. polegojim - Apr 24, 2013 at 9:58 AM

    Love Babs comment… just HAS to… that goes for everyone!

  3. clefty1 - Apr 24, 2013 at 10:50 AM

    Howard has been the reason why the Wings are still even in playoff contention…The team in front of him needs to pick it up…

  4. ethanmacleod1685 - Apr 24, 2013 at 11:40 AM

    Dear Detroit Red Wings,

    Because we beat Dallas last night, giving you guys a better chance of making the playoffs. Please beat L.A so we Sharks can battle for home ice advantage.

    Regards,
    Sharks fan

    • beelza - Apr 24, 2013 at 1:52 PM

      Detroit can beat LAK, but they can’t beat San Jose and Chicago.

      • polegojim - Apr 24, 2013 at 10:34 PM

        I think we’re going to test that out Beelza

    • polegojim - Apr 24, 2013 at 10:34 PM

      You’re welcome!

  5. fusionix7 - Apr 24, 2013 at 1:34 PM

    IF the wings play like they did against Phoenix I like their chances. It seems like it finally hit them that the playoffs are not a given and they need to play hard every game.

  6. namriverrat69 - Apr 24, 2013 at 6:24 PM

    Sorry boys, the Kings are just too strong on all their lines.

    • polegojim - Apr 24, 2013 at 10:38 PM

      Hahaha… yes, they’ll never win… oh wait!

      3-1 – and the lines matched up fine… Kings didn’t get a shot on goal until the game was 4 mins old.

      Lot’s of work to go tho…

      Let’s GO RED WINGS!

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