DETROIT -- After getting walloped in Tampa on Saturday in game two of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, the Red Wings are returning home for their share of home games in hopes to counter the score-happy Lightning.
Practice began around 11:00 this morning, and one of the first line changes spilled by the diggers was the fact that Stephen Weiss looks to be out on Tuesday for game three, and Justin Abdelkader will be making his 2015 postseason debut.
Early indication is that Weiss will be scratched for Abdelkader in Game 3 since Weiss is extra forward skating with top six (in red).— Ansar Khan (@AnsarKhanMLive) April 20, 2015
Shortly after, we got some news about top-pair defenseman Jonathan Ericsson and a nagging injury to his ankle, which kept him from skating this morning:
Ericsson not skating today again. He's been bothered by an ankle/foot issue but has played through it.— Ansar Khan (@AnsarKhanMLive) April 20, 2015
Now I don't know about you, but Ericsson is already bad enough when he's healthy. I'm not so sure that playing an already poor-skating defenseman with a bad ankle is a great idea. Brendan Smith still seems to be in the doghouse, as Daniel Cleary was filling in for Ericsson. If Ericsson can't go tomorrow (he shouldn't, he is bad), Jakub Kindl or Brendan Smith should probably be put into the lineup. There's no way in hell one of our scratched defensemen are worse than Jonathan Ericsson with a gimpy ankle.. Then Kulfan gave us some dirt!
Babcock told 97.1 this morning Smith will be back in the lineup...Ericsson not skating this morning (he didn't before Game 2 either)...— Ted Kulfan (@tkulfan) April 20, 2015
Seems like Cleary skating for Ericsson is an indicator that [Ericsson] will play tomorrow, which seems a bit insane to me if he's nursing a bad ankle, but hey, what do I know? Here's what we got:
Lines: Abdelkader-Zetterberg-Nyquist Helm-Datsyuk-Tatar Andersson-Sheahan-Jurco Miller-Glendening-Ferraro Weiss and Pulkkinen rotating in.— Ansar Khan (@AnsarKhanMLive) April 20, 2015
Defense pairs: Kronwall- Cleary (holding Ericsson's place) DeKeyser-Quincey Smith-Zidlicky Looks like Marchenko is out, skating with Kindl.— Ansar Khan (@AnsarKhanMLive) April 20, 2015
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p>Power-play units: Nyquist-Zetterberg-Sheahan, Abdelkader (net front), Kronwall and Tatar-Datsyuk-Jurco, Helm (net front), Zidlicky</p>— Ansar Khan (@AnsarKhanMLive) <a href="https://twitter.com/AnsarKhanMLive/status/590177600007495680">April 20, 2015</a></blockquote>
<script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>
So basically, head coach Mike Babcock is going back to the old combinations he had in March, you know, that really good month that Detroit had. I highly disagree with yanking Alexey Marchenko, and keeping Teemu Pulkkinen scratched from this lineup. Joakim Andersson is not good, and playing with skilled players like Tomas Jurco and Riley Sheahan is kind of silly. Why not get a booming shot like Pulkkinen's on that third line?
Petr Mrazek has already been confirmed as the starter tomorrow, so no news there. I think after the last game we can all agree that the puck just didn't bounce in Detroit's favor, and that's really not Petr's fault. The biggest concern is that the defense is going back to what it was when Detroit was bottoming-out in March, and I don't think Mrazek is going to get much help. Hold onto your butts.