0

WGD: GAME 18: RED WINGS VS. BLUE JACKETS

After a strong start to their Canadian road-trip, the Red Wings wrapped up the four-game trip with a 6-3 loss in Calgary.

The Red Wings had a slow start through the first two periods but played well in the third period, but it was too late and they were unable to cash on any of their 12 scoring chances.

After playing 12 of their first 17 games of 2017-18 on the road, the Red Wings now return home for five straight. 13 of their next 15 games will come at Little Caesars Arena, so this could very well be the most crucial stretch of the season. In the short history of LCA, the Red Wings are 2-2-1 while averaging 3.00 goals for and 3.20 goals against per game.

The first game of the home-stand comes against a Columbus Blue Jackets team that comes in on a four-game losing streak, including a loss to the Carolina Hurricanes last night. During their losing streak, the Blue Jackets have been outscored 15-to-9.

Let’s see how these two teams match-up.

Record 8-8-1 (4th in ATL) 9-7-1 (3rd in MET)
Goals For 2.71 GF/PG (21st) 3.06 GF/PG (14th)
Goals Against 2.88 GA/PG (t-14th) 2.82 GA/PG (12th)
Power Play 18.9% (16th) 10.0% (31st)
Penalty Kill 84.1% (7th) 80.4% (16th)
CorsiFor% 49.68 CF% (16th) 53.21 CF% (5th)

THE RED WINGS

Detroit Red Wings lines via DailyFaceoff

The Red Wings will be without Justin Abdelkader tonight because he suffered a fractured cheek bone and will see a specialist on Monday. With Abdelkader out, the Blashill Blender will likely be out again. The easiest change would likely to move Martin Frk to the Dylan Larkin line and Luke Witkowski would draw in on the fourth line. However, there’s also a chance that Andreas Athanasiou moves back into the top-6, which would totally shuffle the lines because Luke Glendening would need to go back to centre on the fourth line (shown above).

Unsurprisingly, Anthony Mantha continued his dominant ways on Thursday, picking up three points (1G / 2A) to give him 16 points (8G / 8A) in 17 games—a 39-goal, 39-assist pace. On the other end of the spectrum, Tomas Tatar continues to struggle as he sits with just six points (4G / 2A) in his first 17 games of the year. The 26-year-old has just one goal in his last nine games and needs to be significantly better as long as he is in the Red Wings’ top-6.

THE BLUE JACKETS

Columbus Blue Jackets lines via DailyFaceoff

The only coach that might pull out the line blender more than Blashill is the man who will be standing on the other bench tonight, John Tortorella. When the Blue Jackets start to lose, Torts loves to change things up.

During their loss last night, they started with the lines listed above, but changed to Boone JennerBrandon DubinskyCam Atkinson, Artemi PanarinAlexander WennbergNick Foligno mid-way through the game, so who knows what their combos will look like tonight.

After two really, really good years in Chicago, Panarin has been a but of a disappointment so far this season. He has registered just two goals with 10 assists (12 points) in 17 games. However, he has fired 50 shots on net, so you have to think that 4.0 shooting percentage will start to improve soon.

The Blue Jackets are currently being led by their younger players like Josh Anderson, who leads them in goals (6) and Oliver Bjorkstrand, who has five of his own. Their top pair of Seth Jones and Zach Werenski is really what fuels this team. The duo has a really impressive 58.43 CF% and have been on the ice for 15 5v5 goals for and just eight against (65.2 GF%).

BETWEEN THE PIPES

The goaltending battle is unclear, but Jimmy Howard will start for the Red Wings. Howard returns to the crease after Petr Mrazek started two of the last three, but struggled in Calgary. For Howard, he stopped 26 of 28 shots in the Red Wings win in Vancouver and tonight he comes into Little Caesars Arena where he is 2-2-0 with a 3.01 GAA and .911 SV% this season.

Sergei Bobrovsky started last night so Joonas Korpisalo may get the nod for Columbus. Bobrovsky allowed two goals on 28 shots in last night’s loss and is on a personal three-game losing streak, allowing a combined 10 goals on 89 shots (.888 SV%). Korpisalo hasn’t played very well so far this season, posting a 3.27 GAA and .896 SV% in just four appearances.

HOW TO WATCH

Puck-drop between the Red Wings and Blue Jackets is at Little Caesars Arena in Detroit, Michigan. You can catch the game on Fox Sports Detroit or Fox Sports Ohio.

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 h