Time: 10:30 PM EST
Place: Climate Pledge Arena
How to Watch: BSDET, ROOT-NW
Radio: WXYT-97.1 FM
Kraken Blog: Davey Jones Locker Room
The Red Wings are looking to complete the sweep of their west coast swing tonight with a matchup against the Seattle Kraken. This marks Detroit’s fourth game on the west coast this week where they’ve been victorious in each stop along the way. They’ll return east afterwards finishing their road trip in Washington on Tuesday where they could potentially be in position to leap frog the Caps for the final wildcard spot. That’s something that not long ago seemed impossible.
Detroit has been on fire since the all-star break, winning their last 5 games. Now there are some underlying numbers that say they could get torched soon if they keep giving up shots in bunches. But nevertheless this has been arguably their best stretch of hockey all season.
Seattle on the other hand has found themselves in a bit of cruise control mode lately. They are still well-clear of being at risk for losing a playoff spot, but at 4-4-2 in their last 10 games, they likely would prefer to pick it up a touch as the season extends into its final quarter.
What makes Seattle so interesting is they don’t have a notable superstar in their lineup, they are just all around solid. For example, Jordan Eberle leads the team with just 42 points in 55 games. But they have 11 forwards with 10 or more goals. By comparison, Detroit has only 5. Vince Dunn leads the Kraken defense and is having a career year, already topping 40 points.
The biggest driver during Detroit’s recent run has been captain Dylan Larkin. He has 11 points in the last 5 games. Tyler Bertuzzi also looks to be returning to form after his lengthy injury layoffs. If the team and Bertuzzi continue their strong play, Yzerman will suddenly have a tough decision when the trade deadline arrives. Bertuzzi may peak his value at the right time, but would also be critical piece in chasing down a wildcard spot if the Wings remain in the hunt.
The third man joining on the top line with Larkin and Bertuzzi, during Raymond’s absence, has been Dominik Kubalik. He was quick to benefit from that move up the lineup, scoring twice on Thursday against Calgary. Robby Fabbri is another forward putting up numbers lately, with points in the last four games including multi-point games in each of the last three games. Most of his points have been posted on the powerplay.
The Wings are scoring in bunches suddenly, netting 22 goals in the last 5 games. But a lot of that work is being done by the big dogs. Detroit is still hoping Andrew Copp can find more consistency on the scoresheet, tallying only 2 assists in his last 8 games. Similarly, Michael Rasmussen has 3 assists in his last 7 games. In the event the top line has an off night the Wings will need some better production from these two and others.
On the back end, Jake Walman returned to the lineup on Thursday after a brief absence. He has been instrumental in getting Seider back on track. The young defenseman is averaging a point per game since the beginning of January. The big news on the blue line though belongs to Olli Maatta who signed a 2-year extension this week as he has been a solid all-around addition to the defense, able to slot in on any pair as a stabilizing force.
Ville Husso should find himself as the starter once again after getting the night off on Thursday. The all-star break has done him well as he’s looked rejuvenated and back to form since the team returned to play. The team will need to keep him fresh down the stretch to keep competitive in the wildcard race. For Seattle, Phillipp Grubauer has grabbed each of the starts for the team over the last week after Martin Jones stumbled early on in February.