WGD: GAME 34: ALMOST BREAK TIME

Ladies and gentlemen, I think it might already be time to shift our attention to reading scouting reports and who we are going to pick in the Top 5 of the 2017 NHL Entry Draft. If the Red Wings continue at the pace they’re on, the next three and a half months are going to be a nightmare for Red Wings fans that they haven’t lived since the 1980’s. 

As they sit today, the Red Wings are 14-15-4 (32 points), which has them seven points back of the Boston Bruins for third in the Atlantic Division and 10 points back of the Washington Capitals for the final Wild Card spot. Are they out of it? Are they totally done? Absolutely not, but the way they’ve been playing doesn’t give the fans a whole lot of hope. 

Sure this team has been ravaged by injuries, but that still doesn’t appear to be the whole problem. There seems to be a serious lack of effort on a nightly basis. It’s not like they’re losing games they are in, they’re playing poorly and getting beat badly. And the power play. What is going on there? It’s atrocious. 

Tonight will be the fourth and final meeting of the season between the Red Wings and Panthers. A bit strange to have your season series with a Divisional foe be wrapped up before Christmas, but it might be a good thing for the Red Wings, with the Panthers still not playing great hockey. The Red Wings have lost the first three meetings, one in overtime, while being outscored 11-4. Let’s see how they stack up heading into tonight. 

Detroit Red Wings Florida Panthers
Goals For 2.27 GF/PG (27th) 2.32 GF/PG (25th)
Goals Against 2.82 GA/PG (19th) 2.65 GA/PG (14th)
Power Play 12.4% (30th) 14.8% (t-25th)
Penalty Kill 81.8% (t-14th) 84.9% (5th)
Corsi  47.61 CF% (25th) 52.39 CF% (6th)
Last 10 3-5-2 (28th) 3-4-3 (25th)

THE RED WINGS

Detroit Red Wings Lines courtesy of DailyFaceoff

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The Red Wings had an optional morning skate today, so there’s no word whether or not they will make any lineup changes. Brian Lashoff was back at practice yesterday, wearing a full face shield and judging by how much Jeff Blashill appears to love him, I’m assuming that he’ll be back in for Nick Jensen. 

Anthony Mantha was the only one to score vs. the Lightning, which gives him 10 points (5G / 5A) in 18 games since being recalled. Those 10 points has him tied with Frans Nielsen for second on the team over that span, two behind Henrik Zetterberg’s 12 (4G / 8A). There has been a severe lack of offence across the lineup and until they start getting more from the likes of Dylan Larkin, Tomas Tatar, Gustav Nyquist and Riley Sheahan, this team isn’t going anywhere. 


Getting Mike Green, Justin Abdelkader, Darren Helm and Brendan Smith back sure would help as well. 

THE PANTHERS

Florida Panthers Lines courtesy of DailyFaceoff

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The Panthers are still without Jonathan Huberdeau, but Jonathan Marchessault returned last night and has 20 points (10G / 10A) in 27 games this season. In the first three meetings between these two teams, Marchessault has picked up a combined two goals and three assists (five points). 


Recently, it’s been Aleksander Barkov and Jaromir Jagr who have been doing all of the damage. After a slow start to the season, Barkov has collected 17 points (6G / 11A) in his last 17 games and comes in on a four-game point streak. Jagr on the other hand has two goals, six assists (eight points) in his last nine games and recently passed Mark Messier for second on the all-time scoring list. 

BETWEEN THE PIPES

Jared Coreau vs. Roberto Luongo. 

With Jimmy Howard sidelined for 4-6 weeks with an MCL sprain, Coreau was recalled from Grand Rapids (AHL) and will make his second career NHL start. HIs first didn’t go that well, as he allowed four goals on 36 shots in a loss in Pittsburgh. However, he has played extremely well in AHL, going 11-6-0 with a 2.18 GAA and .924 SV% in 17 games with the Girffins. He’s a big goaltender with some upside and clearly Blashill wants to get a good look at him over the next month or so. 

Luongo hasn’t been great this season, but has played very well against the Red Wings. Bobby Lu is 2-0-0 with a 0.99 GAA and .953 SV% in two games vs. Detroit. He missed yesterday’s game with some “bumps and bruises” but will be in the crease tonight. The veteran netminder has gone 8-4-0 with a 2.14 GAA and .927 SV% on home ice this year. 

THE LAST TIME…


WHERE TO WATCH

Puck drop is at 7:30 p.m. ET at BB&T Arena  in Sunrise, Florida. You can watch the game on Fox Sports Detroit-plus or you can 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.


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