The Red Wings are 1-0-1 since the launch of WingsNation and despite Sunday’s loss, Detroit had a lot to like about their game. Unfortunately, it was an all to familiar shootout finish. Since the 2012-13 season, the Red Wings are 12-27 (30.7 W%) in the shootout. Thank god for 3-on-3 overtime—which we are 7-5 in by the way. How familiar have we become with one goal games this season? Well, of Detroit’s first 45 games, 30 have been decided by a single goal. Here’s the good news. The Wings are a whopping 18-4-8 in such games.
Now let’s turn to tonight. Detroit is 5-1-1 in their last seven and they welcome a former Central Division rival to the Joe this evening. The St. Louis Blues are a banged up team, but after a tough start to January, they have turned things around winning four of their last five. Let’s break this matchup down.
THE RED WINGS
The Red Wings made some pretty interesting changes in Tuesday’s practice. First they moved Dylan Larkin to the second line with Pavel Datsyuk and Tomas Tatar as well as moving Teemu Pulkkinen to the third line and Darren Helm to the fourth. Helm played well in an extended period of time with Datsyuk and Tatar, but Larkin is much better suited for that offensive role.
On the blueline, the Red Wings were dealt a crushing blow when it was announced that Niklas Kronwall would miss 2-4 weeks after having his knee scoped. With Kronwall out, Alexei Marchenko draws back in and Brendan Smith will play on the second power-play unit. Danny DeKeyser will likely see an uptick in minutes on the primary shutdown pair.
The Blues did not practice on Tuesday, so these are their lines and pairings from Monday’s win. Like I said, they are banged up, but they could get Carl Gunnarsson back on the blueline vs. Detroit. Injured or not, this lineup is still fairly deep team and their top six has the ability to put the puck in the net. The Penguins are not as good defensively as the Red Wings, but the Blues’ top line combined for three goals and five assists on Monday. Vladimir Tarasenko has just one goal and two assists in his last five, but he is always someone that Detroit will have to pay close attention to.
*** Update: Gunnarsson will return for the Blues; Dmitrij Jaskin in for Ryan Reaves***
STARTING IN GOAL
To no one’s surprise, Petr Mrazek will start in goal for the Red Wings and Brian Elliott is expected to start every game until Jake Allen returns from injury.
Mrazek was excellent in Sunday’s shootout defeat, stopping 30 of 31 shots including a couple of shorthanded beauties in the third frame.
Petr Mrazek is out of this world. pic.twitter.com/sH4EDPxQz6
— Wings Nation (@thewingsnation) January 18, 2016
Mrazek is 5-0-1 with a 1.31 GAA and .957 SV% in January and he ranks fourth in the NHL in SV% (.931) and eighth in GAA (2.10) on the season. He is also 3-0-0 in his career against the Blues.
Elliott has been an extremely consistent netminder in his time with the Blues and since Allen got hurt, he is 4-1-0 with a 2.25 GAA and .932 SV%.
I’ll leave this right here. Detroit vs. St. Louis, May 16th, 1996.
WHERE TO WATCH
Puck drop is at 8:00 p.m ET at Joe Louis Arena. You can watch it on the NBC Sports Network or catch it on the Radio with WXYT-FM 97.1 The Ticket.
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