How close is the league? The Red are on pace to play 33 overtime

DETROIT – The Detroit Red have started capitalizing on a first-half schedule that’s stacked with home. The Red are at Arena, where they’ll be playing five of their next seven prior to the NHL’s three-day Christmas break. They are Mike Jenkins Jersey riding a 10-game points streak, their longest since a 12-game run 2010. They are scoring more and registering more shots. But separation won’t be easy a tight Atlantic Division. The Red face three Eastern Conference clubs this week – Washington, Montreal and New Jersey – that rank among the league’s top 10 goals-against average, the power play, the penalty kill and fewest shots allowed per game. Here are five things to watch this week: 1. Mr. Green goes to Washington Green returns to Washington on Tuesday. That’s where he played for 10 seasons as one of the league’s most prolific offensive defensemen. Green has shown flashes of his offensive ability since returning from a shoulder injury, with nine points 14. The teams split two at JLA last month – the Red prevailed 1 on Nov. 10 behind Petr Mrazek’s 38-save performance and the Capitals won 2 on Nov. 18 on Evgeny Kuznetsov’s overtime goal. Ovechkin has registered 21 of his league-high 124 shots against the Red. Braden Holtby leads the NHL wins and goals-against average. Washington is its past 10 vs. Detroit and has won five of its past six home against the Red. 2. overtime on tap?

How close is the league? The Red Oniel Cousins Jersey are on pace to play 33 overtime. They are tied for the league lead OT and OT wins – that includes one shootout win. Six of Detroit’s past seven and eight of 10 have gone to three-on-three overtime, which has been much better for the Red than the shootout has been recent years. These extra points be difference some teams making the playoffs and others missing out. 3. Trying to end drought vs. Price-less Habs The Red try to snap a seven-game losing streak against Eastern Conference-leading Montreal when the Canadiens visit Arena on Thursday. It’ll help not having to face goaltender Carey Price, the reigning NHL MVP, who’s out another month with a lower-body injury. Condon isn’t bad, at, with a 2 GAA and.913 save percentage. The Canadiens, led by Pacioretty and Plekanec, have a balanced and potent offense, ranking second the league goals per game. 4. Can Jurco establish himself lineup? -term injuries to Drew and Teemu Pulkkinen enabled Joakim Andersson and Jurco to get into the lineup on Saturday. Andersson likely continue to play because he kills penalties, but what about Jurco? Jurco, who’s appeared only six, have difficulty cracking the top nine. As as he’s on the fourth line, he’ll need to alter his offensive mindset to a more grinding role. He’ll need to skate, play physical and focus on not getting scored against. If he can’t adjust, the Red might be inclined to play someone from Grand Rapids. They are expected to recall a forward this week so they have extra case of injury. 5. Devils somewhat of a surprise The Devils, who’ve missed the playoffs three years a row after losing to the Los Kings the 2012 Stanley Cup finals, qualify as one of the season’s surprises at. The Red visit the Devils Friday. The game pit the league’s two youngest coaches – 40-year-old Jon Hynes and Blashill, who turns 42 on Thursday. The Red have won four a row vs. the Devils and are their past 14 against New Jersey, which is led by Cammalleri, who has 30 points.

Menu San Spurs reserve guard Manu Ginobili will sit out Thursday night against Oklahoma City, while Thunder center Perkins will return to action. Ginobili has missed 12 this season, but just since the All-Star break. When asked during pregame whether Ginobili was sitting because of an injury or to rest, Spurs coach Popovich simply said: He’s out. Ginobili, who averages 12 points and 4 assists per game, is not listed on the injury report. The Spurs played State on Wednesday night. Perkins, a defensive enforcer at 6-foot-10 and 270 pounds, has missed the past 17 with a left groin strain he suffered against the Miami Heat. He averages 3 points and 5 rebounds in just under 20 minutes per game.

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