Red Wings vs. Canadiens Line Combinations, Gameday Updates, Key Matchups
No adjustments to the lineup in the morning skate after Tuesday's crapfest. This appears to be the group we're going with if the Wings are going to succeed in making the playoffs, or is it?
Mrazek starting this evening vs. Montreal...other lineup changes to be determined after pregame skate...— Ted Kulfan (@tkulfan) March 24, 2016
All of the diggers reported this tidbit from Blashill slightly differently, so I went with the most ominous-sounding one. Basically, as far as I can figure from the talk, Blashill told the gathered press that everybody on the roster is healthy for the game and that if there are any other lineup decisions to be made, they'll be made tonight.
I like the air of mystery surrounding Blashill going cloak-and-dagger about possibly inserting one of three guys (Pulkkinen, Jurco, Marchenko) into the lineup at the last minute or the possibility that somebody may not be as healthy as he said earlier, but... honestly I don't like that. Seems like unnecessary drama for a lineup that needs to simply play better. Sure, I'd rather have Marchenko in than Ericsson and I'd likely prefer Jurco to Richards at this point, but these aren't Earth-shattering changes. Players gotta play.
|Justin Abdelkader||Henrik Zetterberg||Dylan Larkin|
|Darren Helm||Pavel Datsyuk||Anthony Mantha|
|Tomas Tatar||Riley Sheahan||Gustav Nyquist|
|Andreas Athanasiou||Luke Glendening||Brad Richards|
|Danny DeKeyser||Kyle Quincey|
|Niklas Kronwall||Jonathan Ericsson|
|Brendan Smith||Mike Green|
|Petr Mrazek (starting)|
Power Play units:
- Nyquist-Zetterberg-Larkin, Abdelkader (net front), Kronwall
- Tatar-Datsyuk-Mantha (net front), Richards, Green
Canadiens Line Combinations
|Max Pacioretty||Alex Galchenyuk||Paul Byron|
|Lars Eller||Tomas Plekanec||Torrey Mitchell|
|Stefan Matteau||Michael McCarron||Philip Danault|
|Lucas Lessio||Jacob De La Rose||Mike Brown|
|Andrei Markov||Alexei Emelin|
|Nathan Beaulieu||Greg Pateryn|
|Joel Hanley||Darren Dietz (Nuts)|
|Ben Scrivens (starting)|
Keys to the Game:
Protect the puck in transition
The Lightning really took advantage of the inability of the Wings' to move the puck out of their own zone quickly against aggressive forechecking by creating turnovers inside the Detroit blue line. Montreal is a skilled team that uses dump-and-chase more than they need to, but if the Wings don't get the puck up ice quickly, this is really going to hurt them.
Bring back the homerun stretch pass
Detroit has I think one breakaway in the last five games brought on by a direct pass from within their own zone (Mantha hit the pipe). I'd like to see the Wings get that going against Montreal to keep their defensemen honest. Abby, Mantha, Larkin, Tatar, and Athanasiou should all be willing to fly the zone on turnovers to get behind the defense.
Don't let special teams lose the game for you
There's not a very good chance Detroit gets more power plays than the Habs, but regardless of whether I look like an idiot after tonight for saying that, the special teams battle has been a huge loss all season long and the Habs aren't very good at it either.
- The Canadiens have won more cups than any other team in the NHL and anybody who is old enough to actually remember the last one is already on the backside of 30 years old.
- P.K. Subban is one of my favorite players outside of Detroit. He's not playing tonight because of an injured neck and that's probably a good thing because every time we play against him, he does something that pisses me off. However, even for a league that doesn't know how to sell the good personalities, the NHL is doing a real bad job of making Subban the star he should be.
- Internet high-five to @Mackletrain!/