0

WGD: GAME 4: RED WINGS @ COYOTES

After starting the season 2-0-0, the Red Wings looked a lot more like the team many expected them to be on Tuesday. The Red Wings got off to a slow start and never really got on their feet in Dallas and ended up dropping the game 4-2.

Their road-trip continues with a back-to-back set tonight and tomorrow—they will face Arizona tonight and their first ever game against Vegas tomorrow.

In the loss in Dallas, the Red Wings’ top performers were once again Martin Frk, Anthony Mantha and Dylan Larkin. Jeff Blashill’s questionable decision making returned on Tuesday. It started when he went with Petr Mrazek between the pipes and it didn’t take long before he broke up the “F.M.L” line, despite them being their best line thus far, by a mile. The trio was back together in the third and will likely start together tonight, but until the other three lines start playing better, the Red Wings are going to struggle to find consistent offence. Let’s take a look at their matchup with the winless Coyotes (0-2-1).


THE RED WINGS

Detroit Red Wings lines via DailyFaceoff

LEFT WING CENTER RIGHT WING
Tomas Tatar
TOMAS TATAR
Henrik Zetterberg
HENRIK ZETTERBERG
Gustav Nyquist
GUSTAV NYQUIST
Anthony Mantha
ANTHONY MANTHA
Dylan Larkin
DYLAN LARKIN
Martin Frk
MARTIN FRK
Justin Abdelkader
JUSTIN ABDELKADER
Frans Nielsen
FRANS NIELSEN
Darren Helm
DARREN HELM
Luke Witkowski
LUKE WITKOWSKI
Luke Glendening
LUKE GLENDENING
Riley Sheahan
RILEY SHEAHAN
DEFENSIVE PAIRINGS
Trevor Daley
TREVOR DALEY
Mike Green
MIKE GREEN
Xavier Ouellet
XAVIER OUELLET
Nick Jensen
NICK JENSEN
Jonathan Ericsson
JONATHAN ERICSSON
Niklas Kronwall
NIKLAS KRONWALL

There may be one change in the Red Wings’ lineup tonight and it could be Niklas Kronwall replacing Danny DeKeyser. The 27-year-old blueliner suffered a lower-body injury vs. the Stars on Tuesday and is listed as day-to-day. As for Kronwall, who has missed the first three games with a groin injury, he said earlier this week that he is “hopeful” to play later this week. The Red Wings likely recalled a defenseman from Grand Rapids (AHL) to join the team in Arizona as insurance for Kronwall, but they have not announced anything yet. The other option would be to put Luke Witkowski, a defenseman by nature, on the back-end if Kronwall can’t go.

Normally taking a defenseman that has a 34.6 CorsiFor% and a -20.5 relative Corsi out of your lineup would be a good thing, but Kronwall’s play has been deteriorating over the last few years. Last season Kronwall had a 49.8 CF% last season, but many Red Wings fans are likely hoping that Joe Hicketts, who had a great preseason will be recalled and draw into the lineup.

As mentioned before, the Mantha-Larkin-Frk line has been dominant in the early part of the season. So far they are carrying a 68.42 CF% and a ridiculous 22.67 relative Corsi—showcasing just how much better they have been than the other Red Wings trios. The top-line of Tomas TatarHenrik ZetterbergGustav Nyquist has not been as good as they can be. A 47.44 CF% is no where near the 53.13 they had together in 283 5v5 minutes last season.

THE COYOTES

Arizona Coyotes lines via DailyFaceoff

LEFT WING CENTER RIGHT WING
Max Domi
MAX DOMI
Derek Stepan
DEREK STEPAN
Clayton Keller
CLAYTON KELLER
Mario Kempe
MARIO KEMPE
Christian Dvorak
CHRISTIAN DVORAK
Anthony Duclair
ANTHONY DUCLAIR
Brendan Perlini
BRENDAN PERLINI
Nick Cousins
NICK COUSINS
Christian Fischer
CHRISTIAN FISCHER
Lawson Crouse
LAWSON CROUSE
Brad Richardson
BRAD RICHARDSON
Tobias Rieder
TOBIAS RIEDER
DEFENSIVE PAIRINGS
Oliver Ekman-Larsson
OLIVER EKMAN-LARSSON
Niklas Hjalmarsson
NIKLAS HJALMARSSON
Alex Goligoski
ALEX GOLIGOSKI
Jason Demers
JASON DEMERS
Kevin Connauton
KEVIN CONNAUTON
Luke Schenn
LUKE SCHENN

The Coyotes were busy this offseason trying to improve their young squad. The biggest trade was bringing Derek Stepan and Antti Raanta in from New York. Stepan has immediately stepped in as the No.1 centre, playing with Max Domi and rookie Clayton Keller. That trio has been very good early on, carrying a 51.67 CF% with a 7.05 relative Corsi. Raanta also filled their starting goalie hole left by Mike Smith’s trade to Calgary. The Coyotes also shored up their blueline by acquiring Niklas Hjalmarsson from Chicago and Jason Demers from Florida.

The Red Wings will likely try and get their third line (Justin AbdelkaderFrans NielsenDarren Helm) out there against Stepan’s line as much as possible, but it could be difficult on the road with first change. If they can shutdown that line, the Red Wings will have success because the other three lines have had a difficult time establishing any success this season. Arizona is a very young, inexperienced but skillful group that will almost assuredly make some noise in the coming years. As always, the Red Wings will also have to focus on the Coyotes’ elite defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson. They have done a better job than most against O.E.L in the past, limiting him to eight points (2G / 6A) in 18 career games vs. Detroit—the 12th worst point-per-game for Ekman-Larsson vs. any team.

BETWEEN THE PIPES

Obviously it would have made more sense to give Jimmy Howard a third consecutive start on Tuesday and go to Mrazek in one of these back-to-back games, but Blashill didn’t do that, so look for Howard tonight. Howie has gone 2-0-0 while stopping 74 of 77 shots (.961 SV%) to start the season and is 9-4-3 with a 2.50 GAA and .918 SV% in his career vs. the Coyotes.

Look for Raanta to get the nod for Arizona. He was brilliant in his Coyotes debut, stopping 40 of 42 shots to earn an overtime point vs. the Golden Knights. However, his second start vs. Vegas on Tuesday did not go well. Raanta was yanked after giving up three goals on five shots, but they gave up too much to bring him to town, so they’ll continue to trot him back out there.

HOW TO WATCH

Puck-drop is at 10:00pm ET and you can catch the game on Fox Sports Detroit. If you can’t watch the contest, be sure to catch 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.


*all advanced stats via corsica.hockey*