It’s anyone’s guess what tricks Jeff Blashill has up his sleeves these days. But, I can say one thing, I’m not sure he’s got the full grasp on the defensive pairings.
Jeff Blashill wouldn’t reveal lineup changes, but based on today’s practice it looks like Filip Hronek is in tomorrow, Dennis Cholowski out, for Red Wings at Vancouver game.— Helene St. James (@HeleneStJames) January 19, 2019
Okay? Let’s sit Dennis Cholowski! Sure, seems logical, right? At this point, I have to think Blashill simply throws darts at a random board while blindfolded to make these decisions.
On another note, Michael Rasmussen participated in his first full practice on Saturday since injuring his hamstring, but he will not play against the Canucks today.
Good call, Jeff.
Red Wings Lineup
Tyler Bertuzzi — Dylan Larkin — Gustav Nyquist
Thomas Vanek — Frans Nielsen — Anthony Mantha
Darren Helm — Luke Glendening — Andreas Athanasiou
Justin Abdelkader — Christoffer Ehn — Martin Frk
Niklas Kronwall — Mike Green
Danny DeKeyser — Nick Jensen
Jonathan Ericsson — Filip Hronek
Antoine Roussel — Bo Horvat — Brock Boeser
Sven Baertschi — Brandon Sutter — Jake Virtanen
Tim Schaller — Markus Granlund — Josh Leivo
Loui Eriksson — Jay Beagle — Tyler Motte
Alexander Edler — Chris Tanev
Ben Hutton — Troy Stecher
Derrick Pouliot — Erik Gudbranson
Keys to the Game
Protect the Lead
Friday night’s third period was an absolute disaster for the Wings after playing 50 minutes of sound hockey. They blew the lead twice in the final period and allowed three goals — including an empty net tally — to the Calgary Flames in the final six minutes. Quite the blemish for a team that’s been in a lot of tight games this year. The Canucks will prove to be a tough matchup too as they’re a resilient bunch that currently sit just one point out of a wild card spot in the Western Conference. If the Wings get the lead, don’t sit back and continue to be the aggressor. If they play passive and try to tighten up, then the Canucks will use their speed and exploit the Wings’ defensive flaws.
Capitalize on Special Teams
The Wings finished 1/5 on the powerplay Friday night, while they surrendered three goals on the man advantage to the Flames along with another shorthanded tally. Obviously the Flames outdid themselves the other night, but killing penalties has been a problem for the Wings all year at just 76.9% (26th). Plus, capitalizing on the powerplay has been a problem at a 16.9% conversion rate (23rd) and much of this can be attributed to Blashill’s lack of creativity, but whatever the case it’s an area that needs improvement.