Morning Skate: Leafs @ Wings, Preview, How to Watch
When: 7:30 Eastern
Where: Little Caesar’s Arena, Detroit, MI
TV: BSD, CBC
Radio: 97.1 FM The Ticket // 1270 AM
Leafs Blog: Pension Plan Puppets
The Red Wings welcome the Toronto Maple Leafs for a Saturday night duel in Detroit tonight. Detroit’s only had a whopping seven games in February, going 3-3; they downed the Flyers twice and snagged the Rangers in a shoot out, but in three loses they let in seventeen goals. They scored 3, 4, and 2 goals respectively in those games, which should indicate something closer to a .500 record across those three games instead of missing out on every single point. And while the goals-against stat is ugly, there is some comfort knowing that 4 of those 17 goals were empty netters. Detroit will need to improve defensively tonight, but it hasn’t been quite as ugly as the numbers would lead you to believe. They’ve been in every game this month.
Detroit will have to deal with Auston Matthews tonight. He’s one of the more obnoxious players in the league by my measure, made worse by the fact he is in the prime of his career and is a heck of a player. Worse yet, he’s coming off a two goal night Thursday against the Wild. The matchup game at forward will be an interesting one against him since Detroit’s best shut down player is also their best player, period. Will be interesting to see if Matthews and Larkin go head to head.
As a team, the Leafs have been the real deal this year. They’re right in the thick of the Atlantic race, only trailing second-place Tampa thanks to the Bolts’ loser points. I don’t think the Wings are off anyone’s radar anymore; they’re too good to be overlooked, especially with how flashy this team can be sometimes. But maybe, just maybe, the Leafs will look past Detroit to their game against Washington on Monday and give the Wings a great chance to to send these dudes to the compost facility.