#RedWings Mantha takes a shot on Howard, in starter’s net, during optional morning skate. pic.twitter.com/uyl3FcIXyd— Dana Wakiji (@Dwakiji) January 4, 2019
Good to chat with Filip Forsberg after the skate today in Detroit. Don’t expect him to play tonight, but he says he’s feeling good as he gets ready to return to the #Preds lineup soon.— Brooks Bratten (@brooksbratten) January 4, 2019
Phillip Di Giuseppe could make his #Preds debut tonight in Detroit. #NSHvsDET https://t.co/QBXDQxe00A— Nashville Predators (@PredsNHL) January 4, 2019
Let me start off with a HUGE caveat here that what I’m going off of is a report of the lines yesterday in practice where I’ve replaced Ehn with Athanasiou. I can’t speak for the validity of this setup because AA is playing tonight after having to miss practice yesterday for a personal day.
My fan hope is that Tyler Bertuzzi was holding Athanasiou’s spot on the first line and Abdelkader is holding Bertuzzi’s on the third, but if I had to take an educated guess on the likelihood of the lines reported below, I’d go about 50/50 between what’s beneath and Bertuzzi being on the fourth line after holding AA’s place in practice yesterday.
Gustav Nyquist - Dylan Larkin - Tyler Bertuzzi
Anthony Mantha - Frans Nielsen - Thomas Vanek
Darren Helm - Luke Glendening - Justin Abdelkader
Michael Rasmussen - Jacob de la Rose - Andreas Athanasiou
Nicklas Kronwall - Nick Jensen
Jonathan Ericsson - Filip Hronek
Dennis Cholowski - Luke Witkowski
Ryan Hartman - Ryan Johansen - Viktor Arvidsson
Kevin Fiala - Calle Jarnkrok - Craig Smith
Miikka Salomaki - Nick Bonino - Austin Watson
Phil Di Giuseppe- Frederick Gaudreau - Rocco Grimaldi
Roman Josi - Ryan Ellis
Mattias Ekholm - PK Subban
Dan Hamhuis - Matt Irwin
Keys to the Game
The Wings’ decision-making during this streak of badly-played games has been either inconsistent or slow. I’d rather see them play with confidence, even if that might be unearned confidence. No hesitation on the puck in this game or the Preds will burn you.
Actually Play Hockey in the 2nd Period
At this point, I may be ready to accept a blowout loss due to disastrous first and third periods just to see the Red Wings actually play well in the middle frame. Maybe it’s something about the long change that makes them terrible, but I’m tired of it.
Play as a 5-Man Unit
Another thing that’s creeped into the Wings’ habits of late is the separation between forwards and defensemen. Detroit plays best when the entire unit is moving in unison and the gaps are neither too big nor too small. It can be difficult to do because even small variations in timing can cause unnecessary stretching or compression, but it’s great to see when it’s working right.