Black seat covers are on the lower bowl chairs at Little Caesars Arena this morning.— Brad Galli (@BradGalli) October 11, 2018
Red Wings host the Maple Leafs tonight. pic.twitter.com/15EzRtNSid
#RedWings Abdelkader did not skate this morning but is expected to play. Frk said he was just subbing for him during the skate.— Dana Wakiji (@Dwakiji) October 11, 2018
ericsson skating, but blashill ruled him out for tonight.#RedWings— gregg krupa (@greggkrupa) October 11, 2018
Nothing to see here really as the Red Wings blueline will have to dig deep into their reserves while Dennis Cholowski (upper-body), Trevor Daley (upper-body), Jonathan Ericsson (upper-body) and Mike Green (infection) sit this one out. On the other end, the Maple Leafs seem to have a clean bill of health as they take to the ice once again as William Nylander continues to mull over dollars and cents.
On the other side of the ice:
Only one change expected for the Leafs tonight in Detroit: Martin Marincin in for Igor Ozhiganov.— Jonas Siegel (@jonassiegel) October 11, 2018
Justin Abdelkader — Dylan Larkin — Anthony Mantha
Gustav Nyquist — Andreas Athanasiou — Thomas Vanek
Tyler Bertuzzi — Frans Nielsen — Michael Rasmussen
Darren Helm — Christoffer Ehn — Luke Glendening
Danny DeKeyser — Filip Hronek
Libor Sulak — Joe Hicketts
Niklas Kronwall — Nick Jensen
Patrick Marleau — Auston Matthews — Kasperi Kapanen
Zach Hyman — John Tavares — Mitch Marner
Par Lindholm — Nazem Kadri — Connor Brown
Josh Leivo — Frederik Gauthier — Tyler Ennis
Morgan Rielly — Ron Hainsey
Jake Gardiner — Nikita Zaitsev
Travis Dermott — Martin Marincin
Keys to the Game
Keep those Legs Moving
It’s no secret the Leafs boast one of the youngest forward groups in the entire NHL and have been explosive offensively out of the gate — 20 goals for through four games leads the league. If the Wings want any chance in this one, they will need the likes of Athanasiou and Larkin to utilize their speed and exploit the Leafs defense to create scoring chances. They don’t have the same playmakers on their bench, but the Wings can stay in this game by skating with the Leafs.
Stay out of the Box
Look, it’s simple. Don’t be complacent with the puck in your own end and make the smart passes through the neutral zone. The Wings are dressing a young blueline tonight and it’s important to make quick, smart decisions in the defensive zone. If they get lazy and overwhelmed, then penalties start to happen. The Leafs are atop the league with a 50% powerplay success rate so far this season, so the more time spent in the sin bin creates a recipe for disaster.
Strong Net Presence
If Andersen gets the nod for the Leafs, then it will be key to be in his kitchen all night long. The Danish dandy saw more rubber than any goalie in the NHL last season and it will be important to make him feel uncomfortable in that crease. This is where Bertuzzi, Mantha and Rasmussen come into play by using their size and determination to pester Andersen throughout the game and keep their defensive core busy.