No news on lineup changes from this morning. Howard is starting, Mantha is on the fourth line, and we’re left to debate the merits. Mantha on the fourth line, is that the responsible coaching decision? Should Mrazek be getting showcased?
There’s an update on the Islanders’ end of things with Calvin deHaan headed to IR with an upper body injury, but Thomas Hickey is conveniently coming off IR to slot into the lineup in deHaan’s place.
#Isles Transaction: Calvin de Haan has been placed on the team’s IR list (upper body). Thomas Hickey has been removed from the team’s IR list.— New York Islanders (@NYIslanders) December 18, 2017
Otherwise, everything looks like it’s on the clear.
Three Keys to the Game
- Accountability. The problem with Mantha’s game lately has been the “process,” as they say, and I, for one, am in agreement. The Red Wings culture is special, even if it occasionally sends the team on season-long convictions of competitiveness. All players need to be held to the standards set by Zetterberg and those who have come before, even if it means plopping Mantha on the fourth line.
- Shut Down New York’s Top Line. Tavares, Bailey, and Lee have been on fire this season and are out for a Stanley Cup. If Frans Nielsen, Darren Helm, and Luke Glendening (the line I assume Blash will match against them) can work some magic, the Wings have a fighting chance in the other match ups.
- Fight through the Third Period. The Red Wings can’t afford to make a lot of mistakes in the way that other teams can, because there are so many chinks in the Wings’ armor, so to speak. They need to bring supreme mental focus to the third period, when the body becomes tired and the mind starts to wander, so they can hold down these Islanders.