WGD: GAME 71, O’RED WINGS @ McBLUE JACKETS

mar17

Happy St. Patrick’s Day to the Red Wings faithful! It’s too bad this isn’t an afternoon game so we could have the ability to drown our sorrows in green beer if we fall to the Blue Jackets again. We’re going to consume a few extra brews this afternoon because the Philadelphia Flyers went into Chicago on the tail-end of a back-to-back and won…Chicago, who has the second best home record in the NHL, has been sliding (since they dismantled us twice of course) and they started their backup goalie for no apparent reason at all. Detroit 

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Tonight will be the third and final meeting between these two teams and also the third meeting in under one month. The Red Wings and Blue Jackets have split the first two meetings and Detroit had an absolutely terrible outing in the last meeting. They nearly completed the come-from-behind win, but fell short. The Red Wings need to actually show up in the first period this time around, but this, like the rest of the season appears to be a must-win for a team looking to extend their playoff streak to 25. Let’s break this one down. 

THE RED WINGS

Detroit Red Wings Lines courtesy of DailyFaceoff

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Tuesday’s first period was obviously one of the worst displays we’ve seen from this team in a long time, but there were some positives to take away from the second and third. Well, offensively. The blueline was an absolute disaster all night. However, we’re past looking for positives right now, we need results. Henrik Zetterberg looked like he was in his prime again, taking over in the offensive zone and their second line of Tomas TatarPavel DatstukAnthony Mantha looked really dangerous all night long. Tatar generated a goal by working hard on the forecheck, Mantha impressed in his NHL debut, recording four shots in nearly 15 minutes and rattled one off of the post on a breakaway. I would expect the top-6 to look exactly the same tonight, which likely means that the bottom-6 will as well. They scored three and probably could have had like five or six on Tuesday, hopefully that carries into tonight’s matchup.

They only have six healthy defensemen, so unfortunately the defence will look the same as well. Kyle Qunicey had one of his worst games of the season, Jonathan Ericsson out did himself with the most egregious turnover ever, Danny DeKeyser didn’t have his best night and had an own-goal. In addition, it often looked like Mike Green was trying to stick-handle a bouncy ball and I’ll try to leave Brendan Smith and Alexey Marchenko alone for now. They need to be much, much better than Tuesday if they’re going to claw their way back into the playoffs. 

THE BLUE JACKETS

Columbus Blue Jackets Lines courtesy of Daily Faceoff

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Thankfully for the Red Wings, the Blue Jackets will be without their designated face-puncher Dalton Prout, who is suspended to pushing Nikita Kucherov in the face. Shocker. They’ve recalled John Ramage, who I know very little about, which is a good thing I’d think. The Blue Jackets will also be without veteran Fedor Tyutin, so Justin Falk has been recalled and will draw into the lineup. Upfront they’ve changed their lines up after also calling up Oliver Bjorkstrand and Michael Chaput. Bjorkstrand had 118 points (63G / 55A) in his last season with Portland (WHL) and has 25 points (15G / 10A) in 46 games with Lake Erie (AHL) this season. 

Detroit will need to keep their eye on the usual suspects, Cam Atkinson, who had two goals and one assist in their last meeting, Boone Jenner, who has three points (2G / 1A), and Brandon Dubninsky who has three assists in the first two meetings.


If you look at the Blue Jackets last four games, they were destroyed by the Flyers, beat us, loss to the Penguins and were shutout by the Lightning. That’s bad. All the teams we’re chasing were able to beat them and we weren’t. We have to turn things around this evening. 

BETWEEN THE PIPES

Petr Mrazek is out with an illness, so Jared Coreau has been recalled to backup Jimmy Howard tonight. His last start came in Columbus, when he allowed four goals on 31 shots in the loss. Howie is 1-2-1 with a 2.34 GAA and .927 SV% in his last four outing, but has struggled to a 3-5-4 record on the road this season. 

Sergei Bobrovsky will make his third straight start. He has lost each of his first two starts since returning to the Blue Jackets crease, while allowing a combined seven goals on 68 shots (.897  SV%), which naturally means he’ll stand on his head tonight…Looking at you Jonathan Bernier

PUCK LUCK

WHERE TO WATCH

Puck drop is at 7:00 p.m ET at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio. You can watch it on the Fox Sports Detroit. If you aren’t near a television, you can catch it on the Radio with WXYT-FM 97.1 The Ticket.

Also, make sure to follow us on Twitter; we’ll have live tweets, GIFS, and all the fun stuff that a topical social media platform has.


#lgrw 

  • Giuseppe The Italian

    Just wanted to ad this. I like the potential of Jeff Blashill; I think he will be a successful coach in the NHL, however. If we are willing to be patient, and I know this year has been very frustrating, then I believe we will eventually see greater success in a couple of years. Blashill to me however this year is struggling. He is just not good for this team right now. When more rookies dominate the roster, I believe things will get better. Question is when? There is no system that the Wings seem to be buying into, no game plan, inconsistency, and above all, lack intensity. They do not attack the middle of the ice and certainly do not protect it either. And the D is simply bad, period! DK and Merchenko are good – DK is the victim of trying to do too much as a result of the weakness of the D around him. He is a good D. So my analysis is this; if you remember when Scotty retired, Dave Lewis took over with similar results, lasted one year and Mike Babcock brought in after his contract was up at the end of that year. Darryl Sutter’s contract with the LA Kings is up at the end of this year. He’s a great coach and I would take him over Blas, Babcock, Hitchcock or Quennville anyday.

    Should the Wings pursue Darryl Sutter to bring him in for this team? He would be a great coach for the guys we have now, and will know exactly what this team needs and will push Holland to acquire. If not, then I believe we will need to be very patient.

    • J.D. Burke

      Settle down. Sutter will extend his contract and it’s only been one year of Blas. The team is still transitioning to the youth he’s coached before and he’s getting the hang of the ropes

  • Adam C

    Yeah I’ve got to agree with Rustled Jimmies here. We’ve got to give Blash more of a chance.

    Babcock was always reluctant to bring some youth into this side, whereas Blash has given some of his previous players from GR a go. It takes time to get some experience into these guys and it looks like they are only going to improve (just look at how good AA has become with the very limited ice time he gets).

    While I agree there hasn’t been a consistent system under Blash, he is still in a feeling out process. He needs to change things up to see what works and what doesn’t because we can’t keep heading down the same way as we did under Babcock, it will just be a continual decline. Coaching is such a cut-throat position nowadays, I think we just need to be patient and see what Blashill truly has to give.