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WGD: GAME 9: SUNDAY FUNDAY

For the second time this week, the Red Wings are the part of the only game on the NHL schedule.

The first time, they played well against a really good Tampa Bay team but it wasn’t enough to walk away with the victory. At the start of the week I talked about how difficult of a week the Red Wings had ahead of them and a difficult week it has been. Detroit played some good hockey in their three games, but went winless, going 0-2-1 vs. the Lightning, Maple Leafs and Capitals. They weren’t badly outplayed by any of those teams, all of which are going to be in the playoffs this spring, and gives some hope that they could battle for a playoff spot themselves.

Despite not winning a game, it was a good week for the Red Wings. They were finally able to agree to a one-year deal with Andreas Athanasiou. Because of the Red Wings’ salary cap complications, in order to sign Athanasiou they needed to dump some salary and they did that with a couple of trades on Saturday. The bigger of the two trades was acquiring forward Scott Wilson and a 2018 third-round pick from the Penguins for Riley Sheahan and a 2018 fifth-round pick. The second trade sent Ryan Sproul to the Rangers for Matt Puempel—who heads to Grand Rapids (AHL). With Athanasiou and Wilson now on the roster, the Red Wings look like a better team than they were at the start of the week.

Let’s take a look at how the Red Wings stack up against the Canucks.

Record 4-3-1 (4th in ATL) 3-3-1 (5th in PAC)
Goals For 3.13 GF/PG (t-14th) 2.71 GF/PG (t-22nd)
Goals Against 3.13 GA/PG (19th) 3.00 GA/PG (t-16th)
Power Play 15.6% (t-22nd) 11.4% (27th)
Penalty Kill 82.8% (t-11th) 80.0% (t-17th)
CorsiFor% 51.43 CF% (10th) 49.31 CF% (t-15th)

THE RED WINGS

Detroit Red Wings lines via DailyFaceoff

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

The newly acquired Wilson will draw right into the Red Wings’ lineup for his Detroit debut tonight. Wilson is expected to simply slide into Sheahan’s spot on the fourth line. Wilson is an undersized winger, who has only appeared in three games with the Penguins this season. The 25-year-old, former seventh-round pick has put up really good numbers at lower-levels and had a career-high eight goals and 18 assists (26 points) in 78 games a season ago.

The Red Wings continue to be led by their veterans Mike Green and Henrik Zetterberg. Green picked up his ninth assist of the season against Washington—tying him for second among blueliners in helpers and third in points (10). Zetterberg also had an assist on Friday, giving him points in six of eight games this season and a total of nine (4G / 5A) so far.

After a sluggish start, Tomas Tatar picked up a pair of goals vs. Washington, giving him three in his last two games. Tatar has looked noticeably better this week, shooting the puck a lot more and obviously producing more. As for Athanasiou, he will not be in the lineup tonight, but is expected to go on the Red Wings’ upcoming road-trip.

THE CANUCKS

Vancouver Canucks lines via DailyFaceoff

LW C RW
Daniel Sedin
DANIEL SEDIN
Henrik Sedin
HENRIK SEDIN
Jake Virtanen
JAKE VIRTANEN
Sven Baertschi
SVEN BAERTSCHI
Bo Horvat
BO HORVAT
Brock Boeser
BROCK BOESER
Sam Gagner
SAM GAGNER
Alex Burmistrov
ALEX BURMISTROV
Thomas Vanek
THOMAS VANEK
Markus Granlund
MARKUS GRANLUND
Brandon Sutter
BRANDON SUTTER
Derek Dorsett
DEREK DORSETT
DEFENSIVE PAIRINGS
Ben Hutton
BEN HUTTON
Chris Tanev
CHRIS TANEV
Michael Del Zotto
MICHAEL DEL ZOTTO
Troy Stecher
TROY STECHER
Derrick Pouliot
DERRICK POULIOT
Erik Gudbranson
ERIK GUDBRANSON

You might not believe me, but the Canucks’ leading goal scorer right now is Derek Dorsett (4). Closely behind him is former Red Wing Thomas Vanek and Bo Horvat (3). The Canucks are a team in transition as the Sedin Twins continue to climb the age ladder and have their play deteriorate. The Sedin’s are averaging under 15 minutes per game this season—obviously significantly less than they’re used to. The duo has combined for two goals and four assists in their first seven games.

The Horvat, Sven Baertschi and Brock Boeser is their new top-line and the future of their team. Horvat is a strong, stalky player who goes to the net and is hard to knock off of the puck. The former ninth overall pick (2013) had a career-high of 20 goals and 32 assists last year. Baertschi was also a first-round pick, but was a late bloomer. He had a hard time finding success with the Calgary Flames, but has 33 goals and 33 assists (66 points) in 144 games since being acquired by the Canucks—19-goal, 19-assist per 82-game pace. And Boeser is an early-season favourite for the Calder Trophy. The 20-year-old turned pro at the end of last season and has already scored six goals with four assists (10 points) in his first 14 career NHL games.

BETWEEN THE PIPES

Jimmy Howard vs. Jacob Markstrom.

The last time we saw Howard, he allowed three goals on four shots before being yanked in Toronto. It was a dreadful and short outing, but that shouldn’t erase what he did in his first four starts—stopped 130 of the first 138 shots (.942 SV%) that he faced. Petr Mrazek looked solid in Toronto and against Washington, so if Howard can get back on track, the Red Wings will once again have the look of a team with two strong options between the pipes.

Markstrom had a pretty difficult start to the season, allowing a combined 14 goals on 141 shots (.901 SV%) in his first five appearances. However, he is coming off of one of his better games of the season, having stopped 20 of 22 shots in Friday’s win in Buffalo. Tonight will be his first career start against the Red Wings.

HOW TO WATCH

The Red Wings will be all over television in North America on Sunday. In the United States you can find the game with Ken and Mickey on FoxSportsDetroit and in Canada on SporsNet360 and SportsNet1.

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.