Detroit vs St. Louis: Playoffs Start Tonight

Three games to go and with two of those last three coming against cenral division foes playoff hockey starts tonight. Detroit travels down to the land of stupid arches and stupid “fans” to face the upstart St. Louis Blues in their final meeting of the regular season. It’s time to show these kiddies what 21 straight years of making the playoffs means.

Puck drops at 7:30pm et on NBCSN

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Detroit is almost healthy with the exceptions of the namesake and Joey Mac. Line combinations are starting to settle, D pairings are being worked out, and players are starting to get into playoff mode.

The most exciting part may be the emergence of Gustav Nyquist, who hopefully has found a permanent home on the top line with Datsyuk and Franzen. Say what you want about Franzen, but Stevie Y didn’t give him the nickname Mule cause he liked farm animals. Franzen, Datsyuk and Nyquist = goalies with soiled panties. Add Zetterberg, Filppula and Hudler right behind them and that to me = deadliest top-6 in the NHL. When Helm returns Abdelkader can move back to the 4th while Emmerton and Mursak sit in the press box.

St. Louis is a mirage. They have skated by all season long on the play of their goalies. They have little offensive firepower and their players aren’t quite mature enough to keep their head in the game (Chris Stewart). Detroit is better and St. Louis knows it.

DET is 115-108-37-7 all-time vs STL
DET is 48-61-20-4 all-time at STL
DET leads the NHL in 5-on-5 goal ratio (1.45)
DET is 2nd in the NHL in fewest PIM/game (8.6)
DET is 6th in the NHL in goals/game (2.96) and 7th in GA/game (2.46)
DET is T-3rd in the NHL in shots/game (32.3) and 3rd in SA/game (26.9)
DET is 2nd in the NHL in 1st period goals (77)
DET is 75-4-4 the last 83 times they’ve scored 4+ goals in a game
DET currently has 99 points on the season with 3 games remaining on their 2011-12 schedule:

• V. Filppula scored his first career NHL goal on 10/28/06 at STL
• V. Filppula is 2nd in the NHL in points by a Finn (65)
• P. Datsyuk is 6th in the NHL in takeaways (90) and 8th in face-off percentage (56.9%)
• J. Hudler is 2nd in the NHL in shooting percentage (20.3) and T-13th in even-strength goals (23)
• N. Kronwall is 4th in the NHL in goals by a defenseman (15) and 10th in blocked shots (174)
• B. Stuart (w/SJS) scored his first career NHL playoff goal on 4/21/00 at STL
• J. Kindl scored his first career NHL goal on 1/20/11 at STL
• N. Lidstrom’s next goal will tie him with K. Nilsson and T. Steen for 7th place in NHL history amongst Swedes (264)
• J. Franzen’s next GWG will tie him with S. Fedorov for most in a single season by a DET player (11)

G. Howe @ STL, 3/16/68
M. Bergeron (4) vs STL, 3/18/76
V. Nedomansky vs STL, 2/28/79
M. Osborne @ STL, 12/1/81
W. Young @ STL, 12/7/85
B. Probert vs STL, 12/31/87
*P. Klima vs STL, 4/21/88
G. Gallant vs STL, 1/4/89
J. Garpenlov (4) vs STL, 1123/90
S. Yzerman @ STL, 1/26/91
*S. Yzerman vs STL, 4/4/91
S. Yzerman @ STL, 10/24/92
*S. Yzerman @ STL, 5/8/96
B. Shanahan vs STL, 10/16/98
B. Hull @ STL, 1/26/02
B. Hull @ STL, 3/29/03
N. Lidstrom vs STL, 12/15/10