Time: 7:30pm ET
Place: Little Caesars Arena, Detroit MI
Radio: 97.1 FM The Ticket, 1270 AM
Five to go and the race to the bottom is heating up. The Wings have had issues winning more lottery ping pong balls lately but not games. Tonight, they will entertain the New Jersey Devils in another meeting of two teams jockeying for lottery position.
New Jersey is very similar to Detroit in that they have really struggled for offense this season. Kyle Palmieri leads them in goals with 27. Blake Coleman is next with 22 and Travis Zajac/Nico Hischier are timed behind them with 17. Only two other forwards (Taylor Hall and Pavel Zacha) and one defenseman (Damon Severson) are above 9 goals. For comparison the Red Wings also have two 20+ goal scorers and only seven total with double digit goals (the Wings do not have a defenseman above five goals though). The Devils do get more offense in general from their blue line, led by the aforementioned Severson (37points) Will Butcher (4Goals, 29pts) and Andy Greene (4/24). Conversely Mike Green leads the Red Wings defensemen in goals (5) and points (26) despite only playing in 43 games. In net, Corey Schneider (.904 save percentage) continues the trend with similar numbers to Jimmy Howard (.908) in 26 fewer games. Mackenzie Blackwood is putting up some pretty solid numbers (.917) in 20 games with the Devils while Jonathan Bernier (the likely starter tonight for Detroit) sits with a .902 save percentage in 34 games as consistency has been his biggest bugaboo in his first year with the Wings.
Neither team is very good at scoring goals but neither is very good at keeping them out of their own net either…so something has to give tonight. This game tonight along with the final one of the season against the Buffalo Sabres will all but set the Red Wings into their draft lottery position so for those in the tank camp this is a must lose for Detroit. For the rest, enjoy watching some Red Wings hockey for one of the last handful of times this season before the craziness of the Stanley Cup Playoffs and the offseason sets in. LGRW!