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Up-to-the minute updates and insights from the Red Wings locker room at home and on the road. By Chuck Pleiness of The Macomb Daily.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Match Game

So how did the series shift to Calgary affect matchups? Not much with regards to Calgary's forwards. Coach Playfair moved Iginla onto a line with Langkow and Huselius, moving him off a line with Conroy and Tanguay. The result was that Detroit retained its matchups against Iginla and ignored the other forwards. The Datsyuk line was still on the ice most of the time against Iginla. Lidstrom was on the ice for 76 percent of Iginla's even-strength minutes at Joe Louis Arena and 75 percent of his ES minutes in Game 3. Playfair's strategy didn't help out Tanguay or Conroy. Instead, Iginla scored the deciding goal on an error made by Lidstrom. Playfair couldn't even lighten Iginla's load with more minutes against Detroit's No. 3 defense pairing. Iginla played against Chelios and Lebda in 10 percent of his ES minutes at the Saddledome and 10 percent of his ES minutes at JLA.

As far as Detroit's forward lines, Playfair showed the matchup he's counting on is Stuart against Datsyuk's line. Stuart played 54 percent of Datsyuk's even-strength minutes at Joe Louis Arena, but that shot up to 80 percent Tuesday. His partner, Warrener, went from 41 to 54 percent of Datsyuk's minutes. Coach Babcock also wasn't able to get nearly as much ice time for his top line against Calgary's third defense pairing. In the two JLA games, Datsyuk skated 25 percent of his ES time against Zyuzin. Last night, that dipped to five percent. Playfair used Phaneuf and Hamrlik against the Lang, Draper and Filppula line equally, shying away from matching them against Datsyuk. Zyuzin and Giordano spent the bulk of their time matching up against Draper's line, not Filppula's. Zyuzin was on the ice for more than 50 percent of Draper's ES minutes. Interestingly, Zyuzin and Giordano were not on the ice for either of Draper's goals ... Stuart, however was.

Thanks to for head-to-head numbers.


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