How to Watch
Time: 7:00 PM ET
Place: Prudential Center
TV: FS-D, MSG+
Radio: 97.1 FM The Ticket, 1270 AM
First off, I just wanted to acknowledge the incident during Tuesday night’s game between the Anaheim Ducks and St. Louis Blues in which Jay Bouwmeester collapsed on the bench during the first period. This, of course, hit close to home for Red Wings fans thinking back to the Jiri Fischer incident of 2005. It sounds like Bouwmeester was communicating while leaving the ice and reached out to family and friends while in the hospital. Here’s hoping he has a speedy recovery and his health turns out okay.
Looking ahead to tonight’s game between the Wings and Devils in New Jersey, both teams are sitting last in their respective divisions. With the playoffs a mere glimmer in the rearview mirror, the focus for these last couple months to the season shifts to the draft lottery in April.
The Wings have won two of their last four games — beating the Bruins and Sabres — and have been in hockey games as of late, which is a nice change of pace from last month. A big part of that rests on the shoulders of Jonathan Bernier, who has been this team’s MVP in the second half of the season, going 7-6-0 with a 2.05 GAA and .937 SV% since Dec. 12. Not too shabby on a team allowing an average over 3.5 goals per game on the season. Between now and the Feb. 24 trade deadline there will be a lot of chatter about whether or not Bernier will be headed out the door to a playoff contender.
It was nice to see Anthony Mantha back in action on Tuesday night as he picked up a pair of assists against the Sabres. Dylan Larkin has also been driving the offensive play as of late, tallying three points in his last five games. Mantha’s return should give the Wings some added offensive zone pressure and stability on their powerplay.
Nico Hischier’s return to the lineup remains in question after he briefly left a Feb. 1 matchup against the Stars to receive stitches in his knee. The 21-year-old had a three-game point streak going since appearing in his first All-Star game, but has missed the last four games.
Kyle Palmieri has picked up the offensive slack with five points in his last four games. The Wings will have to slow down Palmieri and his linemate Jack Hughes if they want any success in this matchup.