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Morning Skate: Red Wings vs Rangers

Game 62

Danny DeKeyser demonstrates Lee Stempniak's karate chop action.
Danny DeKeyser demonstrates Lee Stempniak's karate chop action.
Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

8:00p ET, Joe Louis Arena

Detroit,MI

TV: NBCSN, SN1

Radio: 97.1 The Ticket

Rangers Blog: Blue Shirt Banter

There's no place like home. After going 4-1-1 on their 6 game road trip, the Wings return to the Joe tonight to host the New York Rangers. It's doesn't seem possible that there are only 20 games left until the regular season comes to a close and the Wings once again quest for the Holy Grail. Yet here we are, 3/4 of the way through the season and the Wings are doing pretty well, and better than many fans expected. The Wings added 2 players to their arsenal,  winger Erik Cole and defenseman Marek Zidlicky.

The Rangers may be missing one of the best goalies in the world, but even without Henrik Lundqvist since February 2nd the team is still 11-1-2. Both teams made The Rangers made a big move just before the trade deadline when they picked up Keith Yandle from the Arizona Coyotes, and it looks like he'll be playing on their 3rd pairing. The Rangers have the best goal differential in the league at an impressive +43, and they're in 2nd place in the Eastern Conference. Tonight should be a good game.

There are quite a few changes to the lineup tonight besides the addition of the 2 newest members of the team. Teemu Pulkkinen was send down to Grand Rapids because he was going to be a healthy scratch and there's no sense in him sitting out. Alexey Marchenko and Darren Helm both have oblique strains and are expected to miss about a week. Mike Babcock is either the worlds biggest tease, or we're about to see something beautiful and glorious that will make us all need new pants. Is yesterday's practice lines hold, Tomas Jurco will finally be taken off the 4th line and moved to a line he belongs on, the 1st. Henrik Zetterberg is waiting to be cleared by doctors to play, but he said yesterday that he felt good and he was practicing so I'm assuming he's in. We're not sure yet where Marek Zidlicky is going to slot in, because he practiced on every line at some point, stay tuned tonight to solve the mystery.

The Expected Lineups (Subject to Change)

Forwards

Tomas Tatar Pavel Datsyuk Tomas Jurco
Justin Abdelkader Henrik Zetterberg Erik Cole
Stephen Weiss Riley Sheahan
Gustav Nyquist
Drew Miller Joakim Andersson Luke Glendening

Defensemen

Niklas Kronwall Jonathan Ericsson
Danny DeKeyser
Kyle Quincey
Brendan Smith Marek Zidlicky

Goaltenders

Jimmy Howard (starting)
Jonas Gustavsson


Scratches: Daniel Cleary & Jakub Kindl.

Injuries: Johan Franzen (concussion), Darren Helm (oblique strain), Alexey Marchenko (oblique strain)

Forwards

Rick Nash Darick Brassard Mats Zuccarello
Chris Kreider
Derek Stepan
Martin St. Louis
Carl Hagelin
Kevin Hayes
J.T. Miller
Tanner Glass
Dominic Moore
Jesper Fast


Defensemen

Ryan McDonagh Dan Girardi
Marc Staal
Dan Boyle
Keith Yandle
Kevin Klein


Goaltenders

Cam Talbot (Starting)
Mackenzie Skapski


Line Matchups

Let's take a look at how the expected lines match up against each other.

Wings vs Rangers scoring lines 3.3.15

Based on these lines, the Rangers have a little less depth scoring than the Wings do, with their top line of Nash, Brassard, and Zuccarelly accounting for 31.6% of the total goals the Rangers have scored this season (196). Datsyuk's like as currently composed, accounts for 27.2% of the Wings total goals this season(180), and had Jurco been playing on a scoring line, he'd have more goals and that number would be a little higher. A higher percentage of the Wings goals have been scored by the 2nd, 3rd, and yes, even 4th lines, however the Rangers have had more goals from their defense. Goal wise, Brassard's line has outscored Datsyuk's line by 13, the highest goal differential among the forward lines, and the Staal - Boyle pairing has outscored the DeKeyser - Quincey pairing by 8, the highest differential among defensive match ups. There are of course a lot of factors this chart doesn't take into account, but it's interesting to see how the expected lines compare.

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Wings vs Rangers CF Gauge 3.3.15

Next we have a nifty gauge comparison of each line's average Corsi for % at only even strength, and only when the game it tied, in order to avoid score affects. Theoretically, the Wings have the advantage on their top three lines. The Miller - Andersson - Glendening line is...... Woof.

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Ok, now for the defensemen. This graph is taken from Waronice.com and it's awesome. All stats are at even strength.

Wings Rangers D-man Stats 3.3.15

Based on the competition level they face, and how they fare against it, Kronwall - Ericsson actually match up pretty well against McDonagh - Girardi. They both face the toughest opposing competition, get the toughest zone starts, and have similar Corsi ratings. DeKeyser - Quincey have both been used in much tougher situations than Boyle,  and simmilar situations to Staal, but both Wings defensemen make more things happen towards the other team's net. Here's why I was never as high as many people on Keith Yandle as a #1/#2 defenseman. That nice dark blue color means he has good possession and Corsi ratings, however, he gets more zone starts in the offensive zone than Kronwall, Ericsson, DeKeyser, Quincey, and Smith, faces lower competition than Kronwall, Ericsson, DeKeyser, and Quincey. He does very well against lower competition and in offensive situations. He's a good defenseman, but not someone I would have wanted the Wings to give up a lot for, since he's more of a 2nd pairing guy. Marek Zidlicky isn't on the chart, but his bubble is about the same color as Xavier Ouellet's, he has similar zone starts to Kevin Klein, and slightly more offensive zone starts that Ouellet.

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Here's a neat graph I find interesting. Below are the individual game save % for each expected starting goaltender. The further towards the outside of the circle the line is, the higher the save percentage. One of the first things that jumped out to me is that outside of 3 games, Jimmy Howard has been very consistently good. Game #14 with the big dip was against the Canadiens on Nov. 16th where we lost 4-1, and game #32 is when Jimmy tore his groin just 2 minutes into the game and saved 2 of 3 shots. Now compare to Talbot's graph and he's all over the place. I've looked at several NHL goalies so far in this type of graph, and Jimmy is always more consistent.

Jimmy Howard SV% Spiral Graph 3.3.15

Cam Talbot SV% spiral graph 3.3.15

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RANGERS
THE MATCH-UP RED WINGS
39-17-6 (84 pts; 2nd in Metro) Record 35-15-11 (81 pts; 3rd in Atlantic)
3.11 (2nd in NHL) Goals Per Game 2.90 (7th in NHL)
2.39 (4th) Goals Against Per Game 2.46 (7th)
18.6% (10th) Power Play % 25.2% (1st)
83.0% (9th) Penalty Kill % 82.9% (11th)
Rick Nash (38 goals) Goal Leader Tomas Tatar (25 goals)
Rick Nash (59 points) Points Leader Pavel Datsyuk (51 points)

  • The Red Wings are 262-212-103-3 (W-L-T-OTL) all-time in the regular season against the New Your Rangers.

  • Last 10 Games: Detroit 5-3-2, New York 8-1-1

  • Jimmy Howard is 3-2-1 all-time against the Rangers in the regular season with a 1.98 GAA, .946 SV.

Let's Go Red Wings!!!