Time: 7:00 PM EST
Place: Little Caesars Arena
TV: FS-Detroit, FS-W
Radio: 97.1 FM The Ticket/1270 AM
The Wings look like a new team suddenly; in some senses anyway. After snapping a 12 game losing streak, Detroit has now posted back to back wins after beating Montreal last night by a score of 2-1.
That victory was thanks in large part to Jonathan Bernier as the goaltender posted 42 saves in the game. Given that workload and the fact the team is playing on back to back nights, expect Eric Comrie to get the start tonight. Comrie will likely need to come up with a strong performance as well, given that the Wings only posted 20 shots of their own in last night’s game.
One facet of the game the Red Wings have been performing well in of late is the powerplay. The team has suddenly gotten hot, clicking at around 25% over the last few games. They need to keep that going and especially considering the growing list of personnel they have available who have the necessary offensive instincts. Filip Zadina and Andreas Athanasiou can bolster the second unit after being bumped from the top unit with the forward corps at full health.
Jeff Blashill usually likes to keep the lineup the same following a victory. So look for the lines to stay the same. But with this game being the second of back to backs there may be a change or two with the fresh bodies scratched on Saturday possibly drawing in. Up front that means Brendan Perlini and Christoffer Ehn looking for an opening to get back into the lineup. On the back end the lineup will have to stay the same with all other options either hurt or down in Grand Rapids at the moment.
Tonight’s game marks Zadina’s 10th game of the season which is significant in that it will officially burn the first year of his entry level contract. This gets Zadina to his second contract a year sooner, which hopefully gives the potential to get him locked up at a lower cap number. Burning the first year of his contract will have no affect on his eligibility, or lack there of, for the expansion draft after next season.
Zadina will look to build chemistry with new linemate Anthony Mantha who joined his line in his return from injury last night. Mantha didn’t leave his typical mark on the game last night as he understandably has some rust to shake off. Mantha played only 12:25 in all situations last night, look for that number to grow tonight.
Until Mantha can get up to speed, it’s expected the Wings offense at even strength will continue to flow through the trio of Dylan Larkin, Tyler Bertuzzi, and Robby Fabbri. Larkin set Bertuzzi up for the lone even strength goal last night after forcing a turnover behind the net off Shea Weber.
The Wings square off with the Los Angeles Kings tonight, who is also playing the second half of back to backs. Los Angeles, like Detroit, has struggled this season. The Kings sit in front of only Detroit and New Jersey in the overall standings. The Kings lost in a shootout 5-4 to the Pittsburgh Penguins last night. With Jonathan Quick playing last night, it’s expected Jack Campbell will get the start between the pipes tonight for LA. Campbell hasn’t had a great season thus far posting a 2.99 GAA and .891 SV% so the Wings will need to test him often. The Kings still have threats the Wings need to be aware of in Anze Kopitar (11G, 18A) and Drew Doughty (6G, 15A).
The Wings are hoping they are in the early stages of a very different streak than their previous one. The Kings represent an opponent they have as good a chance to beat as any.