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Red Wings vs. Blues Gameday Updates: Line Combinations, Key Matchups

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NHL: St. Louis Blues at Detroit Red Wings Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

As of right now, these lines are a guess. I don’t figure that the Wings are going to promote Ott against his old team and then sit him, so the guy who scored and assisted in the last game is currently scratched. Hopefully we’ll have an update later that says otherwise [J.J.]

Update:

Update to the Update:

Hey, remember when we said that Miller was out tonight. Just kidding! Now, look at this metal rod in my hand...FLASH!

Still guessing on the lines, but at least we seem to have the lineup nailed down.

Gustav Nyquist

Frans Nielsen

Dylan Larkin

Tomas Tatar

Henrik Zetterberg

Riley Sheahan

Andreas Athanasiou

Darren Helm

Tomas Vanek

Steve Ott

Luke Glendening

Justin Abdelkader

Justin Abdelkader

Frans Nielsen

Dylan Larkin

Tomas Tatar

Henrik Zetterberg

Riley Sheahan

Gustav Nyquist

Darren Helm

Tomas Vanek

Steve Ott

Luke Glendening

Drew Miller

Red Wings Lineup

Forwards

Gustav Nyquist

Frans Nielsen

Dylan Larkin

Tomas Tatar

Henrik Zetterberg

Riley Sheahan

Andreas Athanasiou

Darren Helm

Tomas Vanek

Steve Ott

Luke Glendening

Drew Miller

Defensemen

Danny DeKesyer

Mike Green

Brendan Smith

Ryan Sproul

Jonathan Ericsson

Alexey Marchenko

Goaltenders

Petr Mrazek

Jimmy Howard

Power Play

  1. Tatar-Nielsen-Zetterberg, Vanek (net front), Green
  2. Nyquist-Larkin-Sheahan, Helm (net front), Sproul

Blues Lineup

The Blues took an optional skate this morning, but Jeremy Rutherford came through with the updates. Jori Lehtera comes back for the Blues, bumping lines around and Scottie Upshall out.

Forwards

Robby Fabbri

Paul Stastny

Alex Steen

Jori Lehtera

Jayden Schwartz

Vladimir Tarasenko

David Perron

Patrik Berglund

Nail Yakupov

Dimitrij Jaskin

Kyle Brodziak

Ryan Reaves

Defensemen

Jay Bouwmeester

Alex Pietrangelo

Carl Gunnarsson

Kevin Shattenkirk

Joel Edmundson

Colton Parayko

Goalies

Jake Allen

Carter Hutton


Key Matchups

Tarasenko vs. Everybody

Vladamir Tarasenko is off to a predictably strong start after assembling his break out 40 goal season in 2015-16. So far the imposing Russian winger leads the Blues with 33 shots, nearly doubling the second highest shot amount on the Blues. Expect Tarasenko to continue to shoot from anywhere and use his power to cave in the Wings defense 5v.5. Dealing with him even strength is arguably a vacation considering how lethal he is on the power play, already scoring three goals this season. I can’t believe coach Ken Hitchcock actually feuded with Tarasenko in last year’s playoffs, even cutting his even-strength ice time. If I’m Hitch, I just let him play the entire game and see what happens. He’s young, he’ll get two intermissions, he can probably handle it.

Sproul Continues To Impress

Ryan Sproul has finally gotten his chance after three seasons toiling in Grand Rapids. He looked impressive setting up a beautiful Gus Nyquist goal vs. San Jose, displaying the bravado to jump in the play. It’s nice seeing a Red Wings defenseman actively seeking to move the puck up ice and knowing when to get involved. His natural skating ability, confidence and vision is the type of back end mobility the Wings have sorely missed since the luxury of Rafalski and Lidstrom. I’m not quite sure what his ceiling will be, but I’m damned impressed with the defenseman he’s shown to be so far. If I could describe his three games in a word, it’d be refreshing.

The Blues Specials Teams

St.Louis has been somewhat middling 5v.5 but make their gains on the power play and shut opponents down on the penalty kill. Much has been made about the Red Wings power play looking better. We’re still dealing in small sample sizes but it certainly looks revamped with Vanek and Nielsen. This will be the best penalty kill the Wings see so far this season and it’ll be interesting if they’re still able to get pucks to middle, as has been the strategy with Green and Vanek. On the powerplay, the Blues have Tarasenko of course, but also have banger David Perron creating traffic in front. Either way, if there’s nine skaters on the ice, the Blues are the better team.

Shots! Shots! Shots!

The Blues have only allowed an average of 26 shots per games, which is currently the fourth lowest total in the NHL. The Red Wings have been better since the Rangers games but are still allowing a staggering 33 shots per game. You do the math and factor in Tarsenko. It’s likely Mrazek will have to put up one hell of a performance to keep the Wings in it tonight.