So much for that six-game winning streak. The Red Wings have been streaky, to say the least. They started the year with two bad losses, ripped off six straight wins and have now lost five straight. Ugly.
Less than a week after extending their losing streak in Philadelphia to 12, the Red Wings are back in Philly to try and snap a streak that dates back to 1996-97. The Red Wings almost had it in the bag last Wednesday, but a late collapse ended in an overtime loss.
The Red Wings are going to make some changes for tonight’s game. Thomas Vanek was moved to long-term IR on Monday, meaning that he will miss at least the next four games, before being eligible to return on November 18th in Washington. Vanek’s absence has been noticeable.
- With Vanek, the Red Wings are 5-2-0 and averaging 3.43 goals for per game.
- Without Vanek, the Red Wings are 1-4-1 and averaging 1.67 goals for per game.
Let’s take a look at tonight’s changes as well as the Flyers’ lineup and the starting goalies.
THE RED WINGS
On Monday, after Vanek was moved to LTIR, the Red Wings recalled Tyler Bertuzzi from Grand Rapids (AHL).
— Detroit Red Wings (@DetroitRedWings) November 7, 2016
Bertuzzi is an agitator who also possesses some scoring ability. The 21-year-old has two goals and two assists (four points) in nine games with Grand Rapids, but in his final year in the OHL, he had 98 points (43G / 55A) in 68 games with Guelph—just to showcase his offensive potential. The nephew of former Red Wing Todd Bertuzzi, will be moved into the top-6 immediately, as he will start on a line with Frans Nielsen and Dylan Larkin. Drew Miller is expected to serve as the healthy scratch.
The Red Wings have not scored recently, but like last week, a date with the Flyers is good for a struggling offence. Philadelphia ranks 29th in goals against (3.69 GA/PG) and last in 5v5 SV% (.885).
Last week, the Red Wings got goals from Dylan Larkin, Andreas Athanasiou and Henrik Zetterberg. The three of them have been some of the Red Wings’ best forwards recently and the top-line with Zetterberg, Tomas Tatar and Justin Abdelkader continue to be Detroit’s most consistent line, but the offensive production is still lagging.
The Flyers will make some changes following a 5-4 loss to the Canadiens on Saturday. Matt Read, who has been locked into a bottom-6 role for years, will play on the top line tonight. Read is tied for the team-lead with six goals. Their second line remains the same and the third line features Brayden Schenn, who has eight points (2G / 6A) in 10 games this season.
Their blueline will look a little better than last Wednesday. Michael Del Zotto returned to the lineup on Saturday and will skate on the top-pair with Shayne Gostisbehere. MDZ picked up an assist in his first game back and the two form a very offensive pair. This blueline has a lot of offensive upside, but they struggle a bit defensively.
Detroit contained the Flyers until the late stages of last week’s game, but once again, Claude Giroux, Wayne Simmonds, Jakub Voracek and Schenn carried Philly to the win and will need to be contained again tonight.
BETWEEN THE PIPES
Head coach Jeff Blashill would not confirm the Red Wings’ starter, but Jimmy Howard was in the starter’s crease on Monday, which suggests that he will make his second straight start. Howard allowed two goals on 28 shots in the loss to Edmonton on Sunday and sits at 2-2-0 with a 1.12 GAA and .965 SV%.
Michal Neuvirth was lit up on Saturday, so expect Steve Mason to start for the first time since October 29th. Mason has struggled this season, going 2-4-1 with a 3.46 GAA and .878 SV%. It has been an ugly start to 2016-17, even on home ice, where he is 2-2-0 with a 3.71 GAA and .863 SV%.
Regardless of who start for each team, the Red Wings will have the edge in goal.
WHERE TO WATCH
Puck drop is at 7:00 p.m. ET at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia. You can watch the game on Fox Sports Detroit or listen to it on 97.1 FM 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.