The Red Wings have left the west coast and find themselves in Toronto where their five-game road trip continues. They have gone 1-1-1 in their first three games of the trip and are coming off of a pretty poor performance in Edmonton.
The Red Wings are not going to make the playoffs and tonight they have a chance to and the Maple Leafs their sixth consecutive loss and put a dent in their playoff chances. When were out of playoff contention, this is what we have to look forward to: playing spoiler against our rivals.
Tonight will be the third of four meetings between the Original Six rivals and the first two have not went well for the Red Wings. The first meeting was the New Year’s Day Centennial Classic when the Red Wings made a late push but ended up losing in overtime. The second was less than a month later when Toronto dismantled the Red Wings 4-0 at Joe Louis Arena.
The Red Wings
Detroit Red Wings Lines via DailyFaceoff
The Red Wings will make a few minor changes to their lineup this evening. Ryan Sproul will come out of the lineup because of a sprained knee, which opens the door for Robbie Russo to make his NHL debut. The 24-year-old year old defenseman is in his second season with Grand Rapids after four years at the University of Notre Dame. Russo leads all Griffins’ defensemen with 34 points (7G / 24A) in 56 games this season.
Head coach Jeff Blashill will also shuffle his top six a little bit as well. Tomas Tatar was moved off of Henrik Zetterberg’s line on Saturday, but will swap spots with Anthony Mantha tonight. Zetterberg, Tatar and Gustav Nyquist have only played 49:44 TOI together at 5-on-5 over the last two seasons, but they’ll get a chance tonight in Toronto. Zetterberg comes in on a six-game point streak, having registered one goal and nine assists (10 points) over that span.
The Maple Leafs
Toronto Maple Leafs Lines via DailyFaceoff
The Maple Leafs lineup has stayed fairly consistent the entire season because they have been extremely fortunate with injuries. However, there will be a few new players in their lineup from the last time these two teams met, but they’re both players the Red Wings are very familiar with. Former Red Wing defenseman Alexey Marchenko has not registered a point while averaging 16:44 TOI in five games with Toronto since being claimed off of waivers from Detroit. Brian Boyle is another Maple Leafs’ newcomer who will suit up tonight. Toronto added Boyle at the trade deadline and is player the Red Wings have seen a lot of from his time in Tampa Bay.
Auston Matthews, who has had a sensational rookie season, has had a lot of success against Detroit, scoring three goals in the first two meetings of the season. Detroit will have to focus on shutting him down, because his line, no matter who his linemates have been have done a ton of damage to Detroit this season.
Between the Pipes
Mrazek will be making his eighth consecutive start in goal. Despite the loss in Edmonton on Saturday, Mrazek stood tall and prevented the Oilers from scoring about 10 goals. He has played very well in his last eight starts, posting a 2.37 GAA and .923 SV%, however that has only translated into a 3-4-1 record.
Andersen has had a nice debut season in Toronto, but has gone 0-3-1 in his last four starts despite posting a 1.92 GAA and .942 SV%. He started both of the first two games vs. the Red Wings, going 2-0-0 with a 1.94 GAA, .932 SV% and one shutout. ‘The Great Dane’ is also 14-9-6 with a 2.65 GAA and .916 SV% at the Air Canada Centre this season.
How to Watch
Puck drop is at 7:30pm at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Ontario. You can watch the game on FOX Sports Detroit or TSN4 and if you can’t watch the game you can listen to it on 97.1 FM The Ticket.
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