Time: 7:00pm ET
Place: PNC Arena – Raleigh, NC
TV: BSDET, BSSO
Radio: 97.1 FM The Ticket
Hurricanes Blog: Canes Country
The up and down season rolls on tonight as the Red Wings, coming off a solid 2-1 win over the New York Islanders on Tuesday, head down North Carolina to face the Carolina Hurricanes in a game that narrowly avoided postponement.
Carolina comes into the game eight points better than the Red Wings (39 – 31) in two less games (27 – 29), this despite the Red Wings have two players (Lucas Raymond, 10 and Dylan Larkin, 11) with more goals than Carolina’s leading scorer (Andrei Svechnikov, 9). The same can be said for the blue line comparison, where Moritz Seider (20) has out paced the Hurricanes top blue line point getter Tony DeAngelo (19) and Filip Hronek (15) has one more than Jacob Slavin (14). While the depth scoring for Carolina has been somewhat better than Detroit’s, the real difference has been in their goaltending. Frederik Andersen has been nothing short of spectacular in net for Carolina, posting a .930 save percentage over 19 starts while backup Anti Raanta has a solid backup goalie percentage of .907. Compare that to the Red Wings 1a/1b until recently duo of Alex Nedeljkovic (.918) and Tomas Greiss (.899) and it is easy to see how they are eight points better than Detroit.
Team comparisons aside, the big story of this game, and seemingly the entire sports world, is COVID. Carolina had their game in Minnesota on Tuesday postponed after they placed four players (Andrei Svechnikov, Ian Cole, Jordan Staal, Steve Lorentz) onto a COVID protocol list that already had four players (Sebastian Aho, Seth Jarvis, Tony DeAngelo, Brett Pesce) on it. Pesce and DeAngelo are expected to return tonight, but the status of the other six still unknown.
Carolina is a better team than Detroit when healthy, but right now they are not healthy. If the Red Wings are going to hang around the playoff contention discussion going into the new year, this is a two points they need to pick up. It would also be a nice chance to find some road success where there has not been a lot of it through the first third of the season.