After losing both games on the two-game Florida road trip, the Red Wings returned to Detroit and won 5-1 over the Islanders on Saturday. With last Thursday’s loss to the Panthers fresh in their mind, the Red Wings will host Florida tonight at Joe Louis Arena.
We saw the Football Panthers get beat up yesterday, let’s hope the Red Wings can continue the ‘Panthers’ losing trend continues. Florida comes in having won five of their last six while averaging 4.50 goals per game. Let’s break this one down.
THE RED WINGS
Mike Green will not play tonight due to a tweaked groin, so Jakub Kindl will enter the lineup for the first time since December 29th. Tomas Jurco, who had a great game vs. the Islanders moved up into the top-6 for a few shifts on Saturday, but he will likely start Monday on the fourth line.
We’ve become accustom to it this year, but Dylan Larkin comes in hot, having registered three goals and one assist in his last two games. He had his first multi-goal game of the year last Thursday, so he will look to push a couple past Roberto Luongo again tonight. Tomas Tatar comes in with a three-game point streak, having recorded one goal and three assists over that span. Andreas Athanasiou, who appeared in his seventh career NHL game on Saturday is expected to remain in the lineup tonight after recording an assist and a plus-2 rating in 9:48 TOI.
The Panthers second line is absolutely scorching right now. Vincent Trocheck comes in on a five-game winning streak, having posted five goals and four assists (nine points) over that span. Jussi Jokinen has two goals and seven assists (nine points) on a six-game point streak and Reilly Smith has picked up four goals and four assists (eight points) in his last seven. Their first line has been nearly as hot, so the Red Wings will have their hands full tonight.
On the blueline, the Panthers will be without Willie Mitchell and Erik Gudbranson. Gudbranson will miss his second straight game, which means Brent Regner is expected to remain in the lineup.
BETWEEN THE PIPES
Jimmy Howard started vs. the Panthers on Thursday, but Petr Mrazek will go this time around. He is coming off of a 28-save performance in Saturday’s win. In his first start against the Panthers, Mrazek allowed two goals on 32 shots in a 2-1 overtime loss.
The Panthers will roll with Al Montoya tonight and go with Roberto Luongo on Tuesday vs. the Sabres. Montoya has won six of eight starts while posting a 1.68 GAA and .938 SV%. Tonight he gets the nod in Detroit. Montoya is an impressive 6-1-0 with a 1.81 GAA and .934 SV% on the road this yea
WORDS FROM THE ENEMY
— Florida Panthers (@FlaPanthers) February 7, 2016
One day after his 20th birthday, Aaron Ekblad will play near his hometown of Windsor, Ontario. The Red Wings are as close to a hometown team as it gets for Ekblad, who has six points (1G / 5A) in six career games against the Red Wings.
WHERE TO WATCH
Puck drop is at 7:30 p.m. ET at Joe Louis Arena. The game will be televised locally on Fox Sports Detroit and aired on 97.1 FM The Ticket.
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