Time: 8:00 PM EST
Place: Little Caesars Arena
TV: BSDET, MSG+
Radio: WXYT-97.1 FM
Devils Blog: All About the Jersey
The Red Wings are set to take on the New Jersey Devils at Little Caesars Arena tonight. That is unless there’s any sudden changes as the situation around the league continues to devolve. The rapid rise in COVID cases is causing havoc for rosters across the league, game postponements, several for some teams. This is currently Detroit’s only scheduled game until Dec 23 as a result of the ongoing changes.
Detroit is not immune to the constant lineup fluctuation as seen around the league. The latest additions to the COVID list were Fabbri and Rasmussen who missed Thursday’s game with Carolina. Detroit’s been better off than most, but more positive tests could pop up today sending the roster into further changes, so keep an eye for the game day updates.
As for what to expect from those who do take the ice, Detroit’s blue line appears to be as close to healthy as it was to start the season after having to shuffle players around for awhile. Only Troy Stecher remains out long term. We’ll see if Blashill decides to go 11F, 7D again after trying it Thursday in Carolina.
It’s been said many times without coming to fruition but Filip Zadina is due for a big breakout here. He has piled shots on net recently, but being completely snake bit on having them find their way across the goal line. At some point there can no longer be excuses, but Zadina is getting plenty of chances and that’s worth something.
It will depend on updates from the pregame skate, but it’s possible Thomas Greiss gets the start after Nelejkovic’s up and down play the last couple of weeks. He’s been fine but there were one or two in that Carolina game he’d want back against his old mates.
The New Jersey Devils, similar to the Red Wings have largely avoided too many positive tests with only defenseman Ryan Graves and center Nico Hischier on the list. They are however also without P.K. Subban who missed their last game for a non-injury related matter. We’ll see if he returns to the lineup for the Devils.
Also missing due to a hip injury is Detroit’s old pal Jonathan Bernier who continues to try to get back to health in order to platoon with the young Mackenzie Blackwood, who likely draws the start. Neither of New Jersey’s goaltenders have played particularly well this season, perhaps a significant part of why the team has struggled.
The season hasn’t gone quite as planned for New Jersey who some pundits had as ready to break out this season. Instead they’ve sputtered to a 10-13-5 record, and are right alongside the disappointing Islanders. The Devils have lost 10 of their last 12 games and are desperately seeking to gain their footing before any dream of a playoff spot disappears. It may already be too late with how far back they’ve fallen from the pack.
Top pick Jack Hughes is starting to heat up after getting back up to speed upon his return from injury. He has 4 points in his last 5 games, playing with Devils points leader Jesper Bratt who has 24 points in 28 games. Dougie Hamilton has fit in nicely as the shiny free agency signing, posting 16 points in 25 games while eating 22:12 a night.
While New Jersey has struggled they certainly aren’t a team Detroit can overlook. They have a decent enough top six that can do damage if not watched carefully. While their powerplay is near league worst, overall New Jersey has scored slightly better than Detroit. With the season rapidly spiralling for the league it would be a nice boost for the Wings to get a win in this one before more uncertainly grasps the rest of their schedule.