Time: 7:00 PM EST
Place: Prudential Center
TV: BSDET, MSG+
Radio: WXYT-97.1 FM
Devils Blog: All About the Jersey
The Red Wings are set to close their season against the New Jersey Devils tonight. The Devils represent an opportunity for Detroit to end the season on a winning note. They have taken both previous games in the season series by scores of 5-2, and 3-0 just this past Sunday.
Detroit’s final positional standings are still to be determined as between their result tonight and what happens with each of Buffalo’s and Ottawa’s games they can be slotted anywhere between the 7th-9th lottery positions. But compared to previous seasons when they held a Top 5 lottery position, the Wings don’t have nearly as much to lose here, with their odds of grabbing either of the two lottery positions shifting by only fractions of a percent depending where they finish. So there’s no reason to fret over any dramatic shifts over winning this game. Who knows, perhaps winning this game will result in the hockey gods finally doing the Wings a favour and providing they’re eventual lottery slot with a win.
It’s been a difficult second half to the season for Detroit as their flaws came to light, particularly on defense. Expect to see the players try to make a good final impression. They will have a variety of motivations whether that’s trying to earn another NHL contract, in Detroit or elsewhere, drum up interest from other teams as a trade candidate, or to show that they can be part of the future here in Detroit.
Standout rookies, Seider and Raymond, likely want to close the season with one of their better performances. Seider is just a point shy of reaching the 50 point milestone which would be a terrific marker to hit as a rookie defenseman. Raymond is sitting at 56 points, including 23 goals, so he’d have to have a very productive night to reach any further milestones. Tyler Bertuzzi, after having to sit out the game against Toronto, is only a single tally away from scoring 30 goals this season. With a potentially contentious contract negotiation coming up, no doubt he’d like to be able to claim that accomplishment.
In goal, it’s likely that Detroit gives Nedeljkovic the chance to close out the season as the starter. He has started 52 of the Wings 81 games this season, and tonight represents the possibility to make his 60th appearance of the season. It is a dramatic uptick from his 23 starts last year for Carolina.