The Habs skated first because it’s their house and that’s their prerogative:
Andrew Shaw has the flu. Questionable for tonight vs. DET. Not skating this morning.— Eric Engels (@EricEngels) October 15, 2018
Well at least there’s this... and also this:
Antti Niemi is taking starter's reps this morning, looks like he faces the Red Wings.— Аrpon Basu (@ArponBasu) October 15, 2018
Tomas Plekanec will also be playing his 1,000th NHL game tonight. No word on whether the Habs will be throwing a 40-minute pregame ceremony for that or some other reason tonight.
On the Wings side:
Optional today, but good portion of roster on the ice pic.twitter.com/7wYNuhrguc— Ted Kulfan (@tkulfan) October 15, 2018
I love pregame optional skates when the team isn’t playing the second of a back-to-back because they always bring out the hottest takes. Especially good with the team 0-5 on the season and it still being just the middle of October. Personally I’m dripping with confirmation bias that this means there’s a bug going through the room right now, but I’m not there counting Kleenex, so [shrug] - J.J.
Per Coach Blashill: Frk in, Rasmussen out. #DETvsMTL— Detroit Red Wings (@DetroitRedWings) October 15, 2018
Gustav Nyquist - Dylan Larkin - Anthony Mantha
Tyler Bertuzzi - Andreas Athanasiou - Thomas Vanek
Justin Abdelkader - Frans Nielsen - Martin Frk
Darren Helm - Christoffer Ehn - Luke Glendening
Dennis Cholowski - Libor Sulak
Niklas Kronwall - Nick Jensen
Joe Hicketts - Filip Hronek
Tomas Tatar - Phillip Danault - Brendan Gallagher
Jonathan Drouin - Max Domi - Arrturi Lehkonen
Paul Byron - Jesper Kotkaniemi - Joel Armia
Charles Hudon - Tomas Plekanec - Matthew Peca
Victor Mete - Jeff Petry
Mike Reilly - Noah Juulsen
Xavier Ouellet - Jordie Benn
Keys to the Game
Habstown is Mantha’s time to shine as we’ll hear from the FSD crew probably 12 times in the first 10 minutes. He’s got a goal and an assist so far this season, that goal scored on the powerplay, and he and the Wings need to start getting even strength goals. The powerplay has been clicking pretty well, but that’s not enough.
If Mantha brings family half as exciting as Larkin’s Irish grandma we’ll be in for a treat during the intermission segments, and Mantha may hit the ice with some extra pep in his step.
Break the curses. All of them.
AA and Nyquist have had so many chances and have found some particularly creative ways to not score goals, especially AA. I’m sure it’s hard to get out of your own head when you’re as snakebit as AA is but he’s gotta figure it out and either try harder or stop trying so hard.
Every goal doesn’t have to be highlight real, I’ll take a rebound in off the butt garbage goal if that will get guys going again. We can’t always rely on Nick Jensen, Norris Candidate. Especially with the rate our defensemen have been dropping.
Vanek. Dude. Pal. Friendo. Please ask Kronwall for some magic oatmeal before the game because you were just...what were you doing in Boston?
Who’s on defense? No, this isn’t a joke. Ok, maybe it is.
During the Wings game in Boston, one of the FSD crew said something about not judging the defense until the likes of Ericsson and Daley returned and that hurt. Is the return of fragile veterans going to make anything better or skip the false hope and go right to making it worse?
We knew the defense would be bad, but it’s more fun to have a young bad defense than an old bad defense. Joe Hicketts got burned a few times in Boston, and hopefully has learned from that and will keep growing as a player. That was not meant to be a short joke.
Speaking of the young guns, Cholowski is ready to go and expected in the lineup! He’s been arguably our best defenseman and it’ll be great to have him back guarding the blue line.
The hockey gods giveth and the hockey gods taketh, we get a guy back but lost another in Boston. DeKeyser is out tonight after leaving the game in Boston appearing to be holding his arm, and we should know more on his injury status when he sees doctors in Detroit on Tuesday.
Are the forwards cursed in scoring and the defensemen cursed with injuries?* And Howard and Bernier cursed with playing on this cursed team?
*I’ve been told for my own personal safety not to speculate about the Joe Hicketts Mafia but if I did I would wonder if Vili Saarijarvi has been hiding a devious mastermind behind that sunny Finnish smile.