Well… we’re five days into 2017 and it’s already not going well for the Red Wings. After averaging 3.25 goals per game in their previous four games, things were starting to look up, until they were shutout last night in Anaheim. The power play went 0-for-3 again as it continues to be absolutely dreadful. Their power play sits at 11.4 percent right now, which if the season ended today would be the third worst power play percentage in the last decade—only better than the 2006-07 Blackhawks (11.3%) and the 2013-14 Panthers (10.0%).
After dropping last night’s game in Anaheim, the Red Wings continue their California road trip tonight in Los Angeles. In their first meeting with the Kings, the Red Wings were on the wrong side of a 4-1 score. Tonight marks the Red Wings’ fifth back-to-back of the season. So far they’re 2-1-1 while averaging 2.50 goals for and against on the tail end of back-to-backs this season.
The Kings have won their last two games and are currently hold onto the final Wild Card spot in the Western Conference with a 19-15-4 record. To no one’s surprise, the Kings are near the top of the league when it comes to CorsiFor%. They have a 53.99 CF% right now, which ranks second, behind only the Boston Bruins. They’ve gone11-4-1 in their 15 games at the STAPLES Center.
THE RED WINGS
Both Niklas Kronwall and Brendan Smith left last night’s game with lower-body injuries and will not play in Los Angeles.
#RedWings Blashill said Kronwall and Smith both have lower body injuries and will undergo further evaluation.
— Dana Wakiji (@Dwakiji) January 5, 2017
With those two out, Alexey Marchenko (shoulder) will return from injury and Ryan Sproul will play after being a healthy scratch for four games.
Aside from those two changes, there’s no word whether or not Andreas Athanasiou will be back in the lineup after being scratched last night. The Red Wings will not hold a morning skate because of the back-to-back, so any lineup changes likely won’t be made public until closer to warmups.
The Red Wings will catch a break tonight with Tyler Toffoli still sidelined. Toffoli had a three-point game in the first meeting between these two teams. The Red Wings will need to focus on shutting down Jeff Carter, who has been red-hot this season. He has scored seven goals with two assists (nine points) in his last seven games and Tanner Pearson isn’t far behind. Pearson comes in with three goals and three assists (six points) in his last six games.
Veteran winger Marian Gaborik has had a tough time getting going after missing the start of the season with a fractured foot. He has just one goal and three assists (four points) in 16 games.
On the blueline, they’re being led by Alec Martinez, not Drew Doughty. Martinez has picked up six goals and 15 assists (21 points) in 38 games, while Doughty sits at six goals and 12 assists (18 points).
BETWEEN THE PIPES
Petr Mrazek played well in his return to the crease, stopping 22 of 24 shots in the loss. Mrazek made some big stops and kept the Red Wings in stand gave them a chance to win. Because he only faced 24 shots, there’s a chance that they go back to Mrazek tonight in Los Angeles. The 24-year-old is 4-4-1 with a 3.03 GAA and .904 SV% on the road this season.
If not Mrazek, then Jared Coreau will get the nod. Coreau gave up five goals in 28 shots in the OT loss in the Centennial Classic and has a 3.43 GAA and .889 SV% in his four starts.
Jeff Zatkoff often gets the start against the Red Wings, but Peter Budaj is playing very well and will likely start tonight. Budaj has stopped 44 of 47shots (.936 SV%) to earn back-to-back wins and has gone 11-2-1 with a 2.15 GAA and .907 SV% on home-ice this season.
THE LAST TIME…
WHERE TO WATCH
Puck drop is at 10:30 p.m. ET at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California. You can watch the game on Fox Sports Detroit. If you can’t watch the game you can listen to it on 97.1 FM The Ticket.
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