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Red Wings @ Canucks — Updates, Projected Lines and Keys to the Game

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Wings look to bounce back on their Western road trip

NHL: Detroit Red Wings at Vancouver Canucks Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports

Gameday Updates

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.

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.

Projected Lines

Red Wings Lineup

Forwards

Tyler BertuzziDylan LarkinGustav Nyquist
Thomas VanekFrans NielsenAnthony Mantha
Darren HelmLuke GlendeningAndreas Athanasiou
Justin AbdelkaderChristoffer EhnMartin Frk

Defense

Niklas KronwallMike Green
Danny DeKeyserNick Jensen
Jonathan EricssonFilip Hronek

Goalies

Jimmy Howard
Jonathan Bernier

Canucks Lineup

Forwards

Antoine RousselBo HorvatBrock Boeser
Sven BaertschiBrandon SutterJake Virtanen
Tim SchallerMarkus GranlundJosh Leivo
Loui ErikssonJay BeagleTyler Motte

Defense

Alexander Edler — Chris Tanev
Ben HuttonTroy Stecher
Derrick PouliotErik Gudbranson

Goalies

Jacob Markstrom
Thatcher Demko

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.