7:00p EST, Air Canada Centre
Radio: 97.1 FM The Ticket // 1270 AM CBS Sports Radio
Eight games and counting. The Red Wings have eight games left in the 2017-18 season. That does not mean it will not be eight games without drama, things at stake and hopefully some fun. Over the course these last eight games the Red Wings will play three games against Eastern Conference playoff teams (Toronto, Pittsburgh, Columbus) and four games against teams currently ahead of them in the Race for Rasmus (Montreal twice, Buffalo, Ottawa) before finishing the season at home against the Islanders two weeks from today. I will never root for the Red Wings to lose but some losses in these last eight, especially in the games with those down at the bottom with them, would improve their chances at a very good draft slot greatly. On top of all that, with Mike Green unfortunately having to undergo neck surgery there is potentially room for the Red Wings to get a look at one of their defensemen prospects in Grand Rapids who could be battling it out in camp next season to take over one of a couple potentially open roster spots as well. The end is near, and it starts tonight as the Wings travel north to take on the Toronto Maple Leafs.
It is likely no shock to anyone that the Maple Leafs are heading back to the Stanley Cup Playoffs after another strong season under Mike Babcock. They are a deep team up front with five forwards over 20 goals and another four more in double digits. Auston Matthews is the face of the franchise and is having a solid sophomore season despite missing time due to injury. “Old hats” James van Riemsdyk (34g/51pts), Nazem Kadri (29/50) and Patrick Marleau (23/40) along with “young pups” Mitch Marner (20/43) and William Nylander (16/53) carry a lot of the primary offensive load with Matthews. Along the blue line, while not necessarily the stoutest of defensive stalwarts, Jake Gardiner and Morgan Rielly make up for it by being mobile puck movers that can rush the puck themselves or quickly transition it up to the forwards. Frederik Andersen provides a stable presence in the net for the Leafs with backup Curtis McElhinney more than holding his own when spelling Andersen.
This is certainly not the Maple Leafs of even a couple seasons ago and is hopefully what the Red Wings can turn into in a few seasons with some continued good drafting, maybe a little better development and a little luck. Toronto has a 25-8-2 record at home so if the Red Wings want to come out tonight with a win they are going to have to play one of their best games of the season to come away with two points.
DETROIT RED WINGS
Tyler Bertuzzi - Henrik Zetterberg – Gustav Nyquist
Anthony Mantha – Dylan Larkin – Darren Helm
Andreas Athanasiou – Frans Nielsen – Justin Abdelkader
Evgeny Svechnikov – Luke Glendening – Martin Frk
Jonathan Ericsson – Trevor Daley
Danny DeKeyser – Nick Jensen
Niklas Kronwall – Xavier Ouellet
Scratches: David Booth, Luke WItkowski
Injuries: Johan Franzen (LTIR), Mike Green
TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS
Zach Hyman – Auston Matthews – William Nylander
Patrick Marleau – Nazem Kadri – Mitch Marner
James van Riemsdyk – Tyler Bozak – Connor Brown
Andreas Johnsson – Tomas Plekanec – Kasperi Kapanen
Morgan Rielly – Ron Hainsey
Jake Gardiner – Nikita Zaitsev
Travis Dermott – Roman Polak
Injuries: Nathan Horton, Joffrey Lupul, Leo Komarov
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.
First off, if you don't have an SBN Username, make one! We'd love to have you, plus it's much easier to track your predictions season-long. Then make your guess on the winning team, final score, and who the Red Wings player of the game will be. Enter the required information into the form below using the formats indicated. 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. Only one submission per person, please. The Red Wings 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 3 points. Each correct final score prediction is worth 5 points. If you get all three correct, you'll receive 15 points.