Despite leaving Wednesday’s game with a lower-body injury after blocking a shot in the 2nd period, Scott Wilson did manage to practice on Thursday and would appear to be ready to play tonight. Martin Frk continues skating, but may not be ready to join the team until next week:
#RedWings Frk has skated the last three days, feeling better. Plans to practice with team Monday.— Dana Wakiji (@Dwakiji) November 23, 2017
It remains to be seen if David Booth factors into the lineup at all tonight for the Red Wings? If not, then Blashill will be rolling with the 11-7 setup like he did on Wednesday night. For the Rangers, no change on captain Ryan McDonagh as he will sit this one out with an abdominal strain. That means everybody’s favorite Red Wings alumni, Brendan Smith, will play on the top pairing tonight. Neither team participated in a morning skate, so the lineups are still to be determined...
Red Wings Lineup
Gustav Nyquist — Henrik Zetterberg — Anthony Mantha
Tomas Tatar — Dylan Larkin — Justin Abdelkader
Darren Helm — Frans Nielsen — Luke Glendening
David Booth — Andreas Athanasiou — Scott Wilson
Jonathan Ericsson — Trevor Daley
Danny DeKeyser — Nick Jensen
Niklas Kronwall — Mike Green
Chris Kreider — Mika Zibanejad — Pavel Buchnevich
Rick Nash — Kevin Hayes — Jesper Fast
Michael Grabner — J.T. Miller — Mats Zuccarello
Jimmy Vesey — Boo Nieves — Paul Carey
Brendan Smith — Nick Holden
Brady Skjei — Kevin Shattenkirk
Marc Staal — Steven Kampfer
Keys to the Game
Win the Special Teams Battle
The Wings will look to prevent the Rangers from winning a seventh straight home game and that starts with eliminating their chances on the powerplay. The Wings have been superb on both ends of the special teams metrics this season — 23.2 PP% (6th in NHL) and 84.8 PK% (T-4th in NHL). This needs to continue tonight as the Rangers boast a pretty effective powerplay unit converting on the man advantage 23.4% of the time (5th in NHL). Limiting the Rangers’ chances on the powerplay will be key because their top line of Buchnevich, Zibanejad and Zuccarello have combined for 27 points on the man advantage this year.
Draw First Blood
No, I’m not talking about dropping the mitts on the opening draw and turning this into an old fashioned Original Six grudge match (although I’m sure Luke Witkowski wouldn’t mind being in the lineup for that). The Wings need to score first tonight if history is any indication between these two teams? The Rangers are 4-0-1 in their last five games against the Wings and have scored first in all of those matchups. Considering goals are hard to come by when these two teams play one another, the first tally will be crucial tonight.