Detroit Red Wings (25-27-11, 8th Atlantic Division) vs.
Toronto Maple Leads (28-22-14, 4th Atlantic Division)
How To Watch/Listen/Read
Puck Drop: 7:30 EST
TV: Fox Sports Detroit
Radio: 97.1 The Ticket
Leafs SB Nation Blog: Pension Plan Puppets
Detroit finishes up the Canadian wing of their road trip in Toronto tonight. They’ll be taking a floundering yet very game young Leafs team fighting to make their first playoff appearance since 2013, when they somehow blew a 4-1 lead in game 7 vs. the Boston Bruins. Ouch.
The Leafs have lost five in a row. Of course with this, the notoriously ravaging Toronto media has picked up the scent of blood, recently turning up the heat on head coach Mike Babcock. Our old buddy Babs has handled his first bit of angst from the peanut gallery with the snappiness you’d expect—at least for now, we’ll see in April.
Detroit continues to reinforce the true sign of a bad team: “good effort” loses. There was buzz after the Calgary overtime loss, suggesting the Wings showed resolve scoring with 2 seconds left to gain a point before suffering swift defeat. I even heard murmurs of “this team isn’t quitting” before Jordan Eberle’s back breaking goal in Edmonton Saturday night. To me, it is what it is: a bad team being not quite good enough to finish games. That’s perfectly fine with me, I’d like to inch up high in the draft as possible.
Of course the Red Wings will play hard until the end. “Players don’t tank, teams do” is a good line to always remember in a situation like this. Watching dogged veterans like Zetterberg play for nothing but pride and kids like Athanasiou continue the long journey to prove himself lends some intrigue. This is strange new land for us Red Wings fans. The drama will come from our own internal struggle to fight our instincts wanting to see the Red Wings win. Maybe you do want to see them win and damn the draft. I can’t really blame you. However, it’s obvious where the players stand. I’m sure you’ll see a good effort tonight at the ACC.
A few lineup notes from the diggers. Nyquist didn’t practice because of a stomach bug. Callahan was holding his place with Zetterberg and Tatar in practice. Which interestingly means Mantha has been separated from Hank—at least for now—for the first time since December. We’ll see if that holds in the game. Not to take too much away from Mantha but I’m not the only one who believes he’s benefited greatly from playing with Zetterberg. Of course, having someone who actually finishes chances has also been beneficial to the back of Zetterberg’s hockey card.
Robbie Russo makes his NHL debut tonight but defensive pairings weren’t reported in practice.
Red Wings Projected Lineup, Injuries and Scratches
(From Mlive’s Brendan Savage and Red Wings’ Dana Wakiji)
Scratches and Injuries
Sproul (knee, MRI scheduled today, no timetable given), Callahan, Coreau (back up)
Leafs Projected Lineup, Scratches and Injuries
(From Pension Plan Puppets’ elseldo and TSN reporter Kristen Shilton)
Zach Hyman - Auston Matthews - William Nylander
James van Riemsdyk - Tyler Bozak - Mitch Marner
Leo Komarov - Nazem Kadri - Connor Brown
Matt Martin - Brian Boyle - Nikita Soshnikov
Morgan Rielly - Alexey Marchenko
Jake Gardiner - Nikita Zaitsev
Matt Hunwick - Roman Polak
Scratches and Injuries
Josh Leivo, Eric Fehr, Matt Marincin , Ben Smith, Connor Carrick (IR), Curtis McElhinney (back up)
Game Day Prediction Contest
Would you like to predict the outcome of the game and potentially become internet famous? Well you're in luck, because here's your opportunity. Here's how it works.
Make your game predictions on the winning team, final score, and who the Wings player of the game will be. Enter the required information into the form below using the formats indicated in the questions. If you don't use those formats, your answers will be disregarded. All submissions are timestamped and will be accepted only until the official game start time. All other submissions after that will be disregarded. Only one submission per person, please. POTG will be determined by the collective of WiiM writers.
Each correct winning team prediction is worth 1 point. Each correct player of the game prediction is worth 2 points. Each correct final score prediction is worth 5 points. If you get all three correct you'll receive 15 points.