Time: 3:00 PM EST
Place: Little Caesars Arena
TV: FS-D, NBCSN
Radio: 97.1 FM The Ticket/1270 AM
Panthers Blog: The Cannon
The Wings take on the Columbus Blue Jackets with an afternoon contest today. The team is looking to shake off what’s been a terrible week since performing well against the likes of Tampa, Carolina, and Dallas. The team has scored once in their past three games combined and were blown out in the game they did score. In that game, the Wings quickly fell apart spotting Nashville a 4-0 lead in the first 10 minutes.
Expect to see Thomas Greiss get the start after he was yanked very early in that Nashville game. He’ll need a bounce back performance as Jonathan Bernier has still yet to practice with the team since going out with his injury. Say what you want about goal support but Greiss has to be better. Looking at his limited action in that Nashville game and in isolation none of the goals are terrible, but putting the whole picture together, he has to come up with a timely save or two there. With an .885 SV% and 3.51 GAA, Greiss is still trying to find his groove in a Red Wings uniform.
Also of note from that last game was Marc Staal going down with an injury. As of yesterday he was not practicing with the team either. If Jeff Blashill remains convinced in icing an 11 forward, 7 defenseman roster, expect to see Cholowski swing back into the lineup. If the team goes back to a traditional 12-6 alignment, it was Svechnikov getting the reps with Rasmussen and Gagner so he would be the expected change.
The Red Wings need some scoring in a desperate way. It doesn’t matter from where but they could use an outburst from the big guys up front. Larkin has 3 points in his last 6 games. Mantha has 1 assist in his last 5 games. Ryan scored that lone goal on Thursday but otherwise has been scoreless since March 2. Similarly, Zadina has 1 point in 6 games. That’s too many empty nights from the players the Red Wings need leading the way.
The powerplay could be the jump starter for getting things going offensively. After seemingly finding their way on the man advantage, the Wings are 1-for-10 recently, going cold again. Bertuzzi is the only player out who would typically find himself on the powerplay so there’s no excuse from not having the usual personnel. Columbus’ 25th ranked PK and 23rd ranked GA might be the ticket to get things going again.
The Blue Jackets are led by Oliver Bjorkstrand with 12 goals and 28 points in 34 games this season. Their other top producing player up front to look out for is Cam Atkinson with 12 goals and 23 points. The two pieces picked up in the trade with the Winnipeg Jets in Patrik Laine and Jack Roslovic are talented but have had mixed results since arriving in Columbus. Laine has one goal in the last month. Roslovic has faired a bit better with 20 points in 27 games.
On the back end, Columbus’ two stalwarts are having productive seasons as expected. Seth Jones has 19 points in 34 games while playing 25:00 a night. His partner, and noted Dylan Larkin bestie, Zach Werenski isn’t quite matching past production but still has posted 14 points in 27 games while playing 24:00 every game.
Joonas Korpisalo is expected to get the start in this matchup. He hasn’t quite found his stride from where he left off with his play in Columbus’ brief playoff run. He currently has a .899 SV% and 3.02 GAA. But following a tough February stretch, he’s looked better in March, despite giving up 3 and 4 goals in his last two games respectively.
With the trade deadline rapidly approaching the Wings will need their potential trade bait pieces to show well in the next couple of weeks. Bernier and Staal being out doesn’t help that cause. But there are plenty of others still available, with rumors circulating from those in the know that just about anybody beyond Larkin and some recent top picks are available if the offer is right.
If nothing else today, the Wings need to show some life again and put a few goals in the net to salvage some confidence and hopefully get back in the win column before beginning another extended slide. A win today would square the season series with Columbus at two wins aside.