Time: 7:00 PM EST
Place: BB&T Center
TV: FS-Detroit, FS-Florida
Radio: 97.1 FM The Ticket/1270 AM
After watching USA-Canada the other day, it is clear as day I no longer care about the losses because we NEED Alexis Lafrenière. Speaking of losses, the Red Wings have lost four-straight and 16 of their last 18. They now are on pace for 45 points this season and all hope for the playoffs is seemingly gone (yes, this is a joke). A bright spot for the Red Wings has been Filip Zadina who has finally been given his chance with the big club and has responded with 8 points in his 13 games. With Mantha back on IR, Zadina will have an even bigger role on offense. As for goaltending, Jimmy Howard had just a brutal game vs. the Coyotes before the break, but I expect him back in net with Bernier still nursing a lower-body injury.
Meanwhile for the Panthers, it seems like they are finally turning the corner. Despite being just 1-point behind Montreal for 3rd in the division, and 5-points back for the wild card, they have won three of their last four and really should be a playoff team come April. After a 92-point season a year ago, Jonathan Huberdeau is on pace for 109 this year. Aleksander Barkov is doing his thing again and is on pace for a 91-point season. And Keith Yandle (SOOONK) is 5th among NHL D in points with 30. Also on D, Aaron Ekblad could be out the weekend after suffering an injury vs. Tampa Bay on Monday. The big issue for Florida is the one they were supposed to have resolved by way of $70 million this past offseason. Sergei Bobrovsky comes into this one with a 3.20 GAA and .899%. His GAA is good for 29th (min. 20 GP) and his save percentage is 27th among NHL goalies. He has been a disappointment from the get go, and if he somehow can turn back into the Vezina goalie he was paid to be, the Panthers could be one of the better teams in the NHL.