Red Wings-Avalanche Game Day Updates, Keys to the Game

Game Day Updates

No updates on Filppula or Nielsen as of right now. Filppula, who left Saturday’s game with an injury has been described as both questionable and hopeful. I don’t have any adjectives for Nielsen at this time - J.J.

Here are the lines from yesterday’s practice. As of the time this goes live, we are not sure who is in or out. We’ll likely find out right around game time. - Peter

Update to the Update:

Here are the projected lines from the team. Filppula is a game time decision

Keys to the Game

1. Try and stop the Big 6

Mackinnon, Kadri, Makar, Landeskog, Rantanen and Burakovsky have combined to produce 47% of all Avalanche scoring this year. I’ve always been a big depth guy meaning I feel a team is only as talented as their 3rd/4th lines, etc. The Avalanche don’t have a lot of that. They are so top heavy, but don’t get me wrong, I certainly wouldn’t hate having those six on the Red Wings. Nathan Mackinnon is a Top 3 player in the game right now. Cale Makar is well on his way to being a Top 3 D-man. You know what you will get out of Kadri, Landeskog, Rantanen and Burakovsky as well. I don’t think the Red Wings have even close to enough talent to contain them, but if they do, they will have a very good chance to win.

2. Win the Special Teams battle

For as top heavy as the Avs are, their PP is in the lower half of the league as they rank 20th at just 18.6%. Their PK isn’t that great either as they rank 23rd killing off just 78.8%. Both units are better than the Red Wings as their PP is 29th at 14.6% and PK is dead last at 73%, but it’s not like the Avs are vastly superior. The Red Wings could take advantage of the special teams battle if we get their A-game (which is rare these days). But if they do, again, it will put them in a spot to win.

3. Jimmy Howard Needs to Stay Hot

As mentioned in the Morning Skate, Howard has stopped 69 of 74 shots the last two games. Yes, the Red Wings have lost both, but Howard at least put them in a position to succeed which is important because he’s having just an absolutely horrendous year so far. 2-17-2, 4.06 GAA, .883% are just incredible numbers for all the wrong reasons. With Bernier likely out a bit longer, Howard’s the guy in net again going forward and the Avalanche are 8th in the NHL averaging 32.9 S/PG so Howard needs to keep playing well in order for the Red Wings to have a fighting chance (They’ll probably go Pickard now after writing this).