Photo Credit: Rick Osentoski (USA Today Today)
The Red Wings season has been is symmetrical so far. They started the year off with two ugly performances, then won six in a row and followed that up with two more ugly performances. Perfectly balanced. The good news? That would put them on-pace to start another six-game winning streak tonight. How’s that for positive thinking?
Simply put, the Red Wings have a tough time against both the Bruins and Panthers, they always beat us, so Saturday and Sunday weren’t that surprising. Well… I hate to inform you, but they also struggle against the Flyers. Here’s some numbers to ruin your day:
- The Red Wings have not won a game in Philadelphia since 1996-97 (yes, the year they beat them in the Stanley Cup Finals).
- Detroit has lost 11 in a row in Philadelphia while being outscored 48-20 (4.35-1.81).
- The Red Wings are just 3-5-1 overall against the Flyers over the last three seasons. They’ve averaged 2.67 goals for and 3.44 goals against per game.
If you looked at those numbers and said “wow that’s a lot of goals,” you are right. In the last three seasons the Red Wings and Flyers have averaged 6.11 goals per game when going head-to-head and the way they’ve been playing early in the year, tonight should be no different.
Let’s take a look at tonight’s lineups and goaltenders.
THE RED WINGS
The Red Wings’ lineup looked the exact same in Tuesday’s practice as it did in Sunday’s loss to the Panthers. However, Jeff Blashill would not commit to the lineup, so we could see some changes on Wednesday morning.
I don’t think it’s a coincidence that since Thomas Vanek was hurt, the Red Wings have struggled offensively. It’s not all Vanek, obviously, but he was playing great and made this team that much more dangerous. With Vanek in the lineup, Detroit is averaging 3.43 goals, but when he is out of the lineup just 1.00.
I feel like a broken record every time the Red Wings play, because they need someone to step up. Dylan Larkin scored on Sunday, but has just three goals in 10 games. The sad part is that is tied for third on the team. Justin Abdelkader, Tomas Tatar and Henrik Zetterberg have scored a combined two goals. Those three players have a combined cap-hit of $13.083 million and they have two goals between them in 10 games. The six-game winning streak was nice, but if they don’t get going, the Red Wings aren’t going anywhere.
The positive news, is the Flyers are giving up 3.80 goals per game, which is second worst in the NHL, so maybe this is the matchup Detroit’s forwards needed to wake up. We’ll see.
The Red Wings continue to struggle to possess the puck, which is why all seven of their defensemen have a CorsiFor% under 50.0, with Brendan Smith leading the way at 49.73 and Danny DeKeyser brining up the read at 34.89. It hasn’t been pretty for Detroit, but they still sit at 6-4-0 and have done some things they can build on.
The Flyers have been playing without three members of their regular lineup, but they could get one of them back tonight and it’s bad news for the Red Wings. Noted Red Wing killer, Michael Raffl (I know) could be back in the lineup tonight and he surprisingly has eight points (4G / 4A) in nine career games vs. Detroit. How, you ask? No clue.
The Flyers may be giving up a ton of goals, but they’re also scoring a lot—Philly comes in tied for second in the NHL with 3.50 goals per game. To no one’s surprise, they are being led by four familiar faces: Wayne Simmonds has a team-high six goals (11 points), while Claude Giroux leads the team with 12 points (2G / 10A) and they’re followed closely by Jakub Voracek (5G / 5A) and Brayden Schenn (2G / 4A)—who missed the first three games with suspension.
Flyers lines by total points:
Line 1 (10-28-17): 29 pts
Line 2 (11-14-93): 21 pts
Line 3 (24-76-13): 7 pts
Line 4 (76-25-22): 5 pts
— Kyle (@Kyle_Phillippi) November 2, 2016
Much like Larkin last year, rookie Travis Konecny is off to a hot-start and has been given every opportunity to produce in the top-6. They have another impressive rookie on the blueline, Ivan Provorov. Both have been dangerous offensively, but Provorov has had a bit of a tough time defensively in recent games.
Similar to the Red Wings, Philadelphia’s blueline is their weakness. However, they do have a high-end offensive defenseman in Shayne Gostisbehere, who has seven points (2G / 5A) in 10 games.
BETWEEN THE PIPES
Blashill would not confirm his goalie on Tuesday, but Petr Mrazek was in the “starter’s crease” at practice, which suggests that he’ll start tonight. Mrazek was pulled on Sunday after allowing four goals on 10 shots, but it looks like Blashill wants to go right back to him to get him back on track. Mrazek had a .910 SV% and 2.94 GAA in seven starts in October, but the numbers don’t tell the entire story. Mrazek has done everything he can to limit the damage.
There’s no word on who will start for the Flyers and it’s tough to guess because both Steve Mason and Michal Neuvirth have been terrible. Neuvirth is coming off of a win on Sunday, which suggests he may start, but it was his second of the year and he has posted an ugly .861 SV% in five starts. For Mason, it hasn’t been much better, he is 2-4-1 with an .878 SV% and 3.46 GAA. Detroit can exploit these netminder, I expect the offence to get a shot in the arm tonight.
WHERE TO WATCH
Puck drop is at 8:00 p.m. ET at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia. You can watch the game on NBCSN or listen to it on 97.1 FM The Ticket.
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