On the Wings’ side, we know they had a morning skate today because Dana Wakiji showed us.
Wakiji also tweeted out that the lines skated the same as they had for the Boston game pre-Christmas, so we’re still expecting Ouellet and Witkowski to be paired together in the press box while the team skates as a 12/6 unit.
Finally, if you’re looking for the showcase to start, well...
Over on the Devils’ side, we’ve got a minor update on lines, as wingers from lines 1 & 2 and also 3 & 4 switch places (as well as apparently line 3 & 4 themselves flip-flopping).
DETROIT RED WINGS
Anthony Mantha – Henrik Zetterberg – Gustav Nyquist
Tomas Tatar – Dylan Larkin – Justin Abdelkader
Tyler Bertuzzi – Frans Nielsen – Darren Helm
Martin Frk– Andreas Athanasiou – David Booth
Jonathan Ericsson – Trevor Daley
Danny DeKeyser – Mike Green
Niklas Kronwall – Nick Jensen
NEW JERSEY DEVILS
Taylor Hall - Nico Hischier - Jesper Bratt
Marcus Johansson - Travis Zajac - Kyle Palmieri
Blake Coleman - Brian Boyle - Brian Gibbons
Miles Wood - Pavel Zacha -Stefan Noesen
John Moore - Sami Vatanen
Andy Greene - Steven Santini
Will Butcher - Damon Severson
Keys to the Game
Who ya gonna call? SLUMPBUSTERS!
Ok, we’re closing in on the New Year and you know what that means? It’s slump-busting time! Zetterberg has started breaking through his slump, and we’ve seen him play this way right before tearing up the world down the homestretch of the season. Keep an eye on Hank, he’s got tricks up his perfectly tailored sleeves.
Anthony Mantha has also been showing some sparks again, and it’s time for the inferno we know he can be, and that he was earlier this season. It’s not about him carrying the team to victories, it’s about him showing that he has the goods to carry this team for years to come along with Larkin (and AA, if we can keep him).
Larkin and AA are looking to amp up their impact, although Larkin has been establishing himself as a fantastic setup man at center - which is tough when you set the table and then your winger tries to do a magic trick and pulls the tablecloth and then your favorite plates are smashed on the floor.
Tyler Bertuzzi Returns: This Time It’s Just Business
With Luke Glendening out for a while with a sore paw, Tyler Bertuzzi has his best chance to show he’s the real deal and ready for the permanent jump up to the NHL level. He played about 18 minutes against Boston, a career-high for him, which seems to indicate Blashill is serious about giving Bertuzzi a real evaluation and seeing what he can handle.
Important for Bertuzzi is to play physical, we know how management loves that #GRIT factor, but avoid taking penalties. While the veterans are forgiven for boneheaded penalties, I have a feeling there will be much less leniency for Lil’ Bert.
Let’s Go Red Wings!