1. The Wings have been looking like their old selves for the last couple of games. Unfortunately, they have next to nothing to show for it other than some warm, fuzzy feelings. Can they keep up that level of play, or sink back into the habits of their recent past?
2. Despite their largely solid play, there are still glaring defensive lapses that need to get taken care of (see the Sharp goal against Chicago, and a couple of the Capitals’ goals on Tuesday). Minnesota isn’t quite as dangerous as the Wings’ last two opponents, but they’ve been creeping up the standings lately. Can the Wings find a way to lock things down and show the kind of defensive focus that they supposedly pride themselves on?
3. On a positive note, the Wings have been getting more of an offensive contribution from the blue line over the last few games. Lidstrom and Rafalski have both chipped in with key goals lately. This is a huge element that’s been missing from their game this season, especially since Kronwall went down (exactly two months ago today). Can the back end keep it going tonight?
4. Pavel Datsyuk has looked phenomenal over the last few games after floating along for most of the season. (Not only that, but he’s graced us with two great interviews over the last couple of days. The one at Puck Daddy is a must-read, as is pretty much anything that involves Pav and speaking.) Is his recent performance a trend, or was he just showing off for NBC and AO?
5. “The young goalie” has a chance to cement his status as the Wings’ starter beyond any shadow of a doubt with a strong performance tonight. Even the most die hard Osgood supporters can’t argue that the Wings are better off with Ozzie in net right now. Can Howard keep up his hot streak and demonstrate why he won the starting job this season?