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WGD: GAME 55: RED WINGS VS. DUCKS

Over the weekend, the Red Wings blew another three-goal lead but this time they were able to win in overtime—on a beauty Tomas Tatar goal, which was his second of the game.

Now the Red Wings get set to start a terrible stretch in their schedule. Detroit will play eight games in the next 13 days and that includes trips to Tampa Bay, Nashville and New York. If the Red Wings were actually still in the playoff mix this stretch of the season would be crucial for them to survive, but to make matters worse (or better if you’re in Fallin’ for Dahlin mode) seven of their eight opponents during that time have winning records–and five of eight currently sit in a playoff spot.

If Detroit struggles through these next eight games and then offloads some of their best players at the deadline right after, they are going to be sitting near the bottom of the league and the odds of Rasmus Dahlin becoming a Red Wing will be better than they are today.

THE RED WINGS

Detroit Red Wings lines via DailyFaceoff

The Red Wings will make one change to their lineup tonight and that will be replacing David Booth with Tyler Bertuzzi. Taking the young winger out of the lineup in Washington was likely disciplinary after he cost the Red Wings the game vs. the Islanders by taking a foolish five-minute slashing penalty in the third period–a penalty that resulted in four power-play goals.

For the last few gameday posts I have been harping on the Red Wings’ second line of Tatar – Dylan Larkin – Andreas Athanasiou for not contributing offensively in recent weeks. However, they were able to change that, combining for two goals and three assists in the overtime win. Anthony Mantha improved his play over the weekend as well, scoring three times in two games.

THE DUCKS

Anaheim Ducks lines via DailyFaceoff

The Ducks have lost four of their last six games (2-2-2) while averaging just 2.67 goals for per game. The Ducks have not been a very good road team this season, going 12-10-7 in 29 games. They are averaging 2.79 goals for and 3.03 goals against per game on the road—versus 2.82 goals for and 2.71 in Anaheim. The only change they will make from their last game is Antoine Vermette replacing Derek Grant on the fourth line.

The Ducks have been carried by their top line of Rickard Rakell Ryan Getzlaf Corey Perry. Rakell has been excellent and is building on a career-year in 2016-17. Rakell is on-pace to improve on all of last year’s numbers, tracking towards 33 goals and 34 assists (67 points) in 77 games. Perry, who recently spent time on the fourth line, has been red-hot since being reunited with Getzlaf—he has three goals and four assists (seven points) in his last five games. Finally, Getzlaf continues to be as steady as ever, having picked up seven goals and 28 assists (35 points) in his first 33 games of the season.

Oddly enough, the Ducks’ top defenseman, Cam Fowler, is on-pace for the exact same numbers as last season (11G / 28A). They’ve also been getting great contributions from the improving Ondrej Kase, who has three goals and two assists in his last four games, to give him 15 goals and 12 assists (27 points) in 41 games.

BETWEEN THE PIPES

Jimmy Howard vs. John Gibson.

Howard allowed four goals on 27 shots in the Red Wings overtime win in Washington on Sunday. With Petr Mrazek taking a lot of the starts recently, it was Howard’s first win since January 5th. He comes into tonight at 10-10-5 with a 2.86 GAA and .908 SV% at Little Caesars Arena.

Gibson has been back in the Ducks net for the last two games after missing a handful of games with a lower-body injury. He looked to be well on his way to a win on Sunday, before a late collapse by the Ducks allowed the Sharks to tie it up and eventually lost in a shootout. Gibson has stopped 67 of 71 shots (.944 SV%) in his last two starts and has a 2.49 GAA and .923 SV% in 16 road games this season.

HOW TO WATCH

Puck-drop between the Red Wings and Ducks is at 7:30 p.m. at Little Caesars Arena. It can be seen on Fox Sports Detroit.

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