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WGD: Game 64: Red Wings vs. Canadiens

With the trade deadline behind us, the Red Wings move forward without two key pieces of their roster in Nick Jensen and Gustav Nyquist. Both trades were deemed successful overall, but the overall lack of activity by Ken Holland on the D-corps left much to be desired.

Grading The Red Wings 2019 Trade Deadline

But that’s all in the past now and the season must go on, no matter how much you’re losing. Tonight, the Red Wings play host to the Montreal Canadiens for the third time this season. The first match-up was back during the 7-game losing streak and was a blood bath with a 7-3 Montreal victory. The second match-up was much closer, but still a loss in a 3-2 game.

The Wings have a secret weapon tonight, though. One who is ready to fill their puck with nets. And with Nyquist gone, the Wings will desperately need somebody to back-fill his scoring.

THE RED WINGS

LW C RW
Darren Helm
DARREN HELM

Rating: 71.2#134 LW

Dylan Larkin
DYLAN LARKIN

Rating: 80.1#17 C

Anthony Mantha
ANTHONY MANTHA

Rating: 76.8#26 RW

Tyler Bertuzzi
TYLER BERTUZZI

Rating: 74.8#39 LW

Andreas Athanasiou
ANDREAS ATHANASIOU

Rating: 76.9#37 C

Filip Zadina
FILIP ZADINA
Luke Glendening
LUKE GLENDENING

Rating: 70.1#127 LW

Frans Nielsen
FRANS NIELSEN

Rating: 72.4#98 C

Michael Rasmussen
MICHAEL RASMUSSEN

Rating: 70.6#101 RW

Justin Abdelkader
JUSTIN ABDELKADER

Rating: 69.8#132 LW

Jacob De La Rose
JACOB DE LA ROSE

Rating: 68.6#173 C

Luke Witkowski
LUKE WITKOWSKI

Rating: 68.6#125 RW

DEFENSIVE PAIRINGS
Niklas Kronwall
NIKLAS KRONWALL

Rating: 72.2#70 LD

Mike Green
MIKE GREEN

Rating: 74.8#29 RD

Dan DeKeyser
DAN DEKEYSER

Rating: 72.2#72 LD

Filip Hronek
FILIP HRONEK

Rating: 73.1#49 RD

Trevor Daley
TREVOR DALEY

Rating: 70.1#113 LD

Madison Bowey
MADISON BOWEY

Rating: 68.9#104 RD

This lineup looks sad without Nyquist in there, but at least it’s given us a line of Bertuzzi, Athanasiou, and Zadina! That one will be extremely fun to watch. After the trade went down, Blashill announced that Athanasiou would be playing center for the rest of the year, which I’m not sure I believe. I can’t see him putting Glendening on the wing for the rest of the season.

Because teams are only allowed four call-ups after the deadline, the Wings have to be conservative with bringing up players from Grand Rapids. They’ve already used two to make Zadina and Hronek eligible for the AHL playoffs. That’s why Witkowski is sliding into the forwards lines.

Finally, on the back-end, Madison Bowey is making his debut on the bottom-pair with Trevor Daley. Bowey will be wearing #74 and interesting to watch as the Wings begin their reclamation project on him.

How Madison Bowey fits into the Red Wings future plans

THE CANADIENS

LW C RW
Jonathan Drouin
JONATHAN DROUIN

Rating: 76.1#31 LW

Phillip Danault
PHILLIP DANAULT

Rating: 74.9#54 C

Brendan Gallagher
BRENDAN GALLAGHER

Rating: 79.7#11 RW

Tomas Tatar
TOMAS TATAR

Rating: 77.2#22 LW

Max Domi
MAX DOMI

Rating: 75.1#51 C

Andrew Shaw
ANDREW SHAW

Rating: 73.9#47 RW

Paul Byron
PAUL BYRON

Rating: 75.9#47 LW

Jesperi Kotkaniemi
JESPERI KOTKANIEMI

Rating: 74.6#58 C

Joel Armia
JOEL ARMIA

Rating: 71.8#78 RW

Matthew Peca
MATTHEW PECA

Rating: 69.9#131 LW

Nate Thompson
NATE THOMPSON

Rating: 67.5#179 C

Artturi Lehkonen
ARTTURI LEHKONEN

Rating: 72.6#67 RW

DEFENSIVE PAIRINGS
Victor Mete
VICTOR METE

Rating: 71.6#86 LD

Shea Weber
SHEA WEBER

Rating: 78.6#13 RD

Mike Reilly
MIKE REILLY

Rating: 72.6#64 LD

Jeff Petry
JEFF PETRY

Rating: 77.9#17 RD

Jordie Benn
JORDIE BENN

Rating: 73.0#53 LD

Brett Kulak
BRETT KULAK

Rating: 72.4#63 RD

Twice in the last few weeks I have watched these Canadiens play the Toronto Maple Leafs and twice I’ve seen them give the Leafs a run for their money. The Habs are by no means a lock for the playoffs, but man they look good.

They’re being led by Max Domi with his 54 points and Brendan Gallagher with his 26 goals, but man how much are you missing Tomas Tatar this year? Tats has 12 goals and 46 points. He’s been a key offensive cog for the Canadiens this year. Right up there with him is Jonathan Drouin, who also has 46 points.

Down the lineup and in the bottom-6 is Jesperi Kotkaniemi, who the Canadiens took instead of Zadina. He’s been in the NHL all year and has a modest 11 goals and 30 points. Not bad for a rookie.

Finally, on defense, Jeff Petry has put together a nice season for himself with 40 points so far and Shea Weber is still a jerk.

BETWEEN THE PIPES

Jimmy Howard vs. Antti Niemi

The soon-to-be-extender Howard has been confirmed as your Red Wings starter tonight after combating a bout with the flu last week. Overall, Howard has had a great season, but he had a tough January that dragged his save percentage down to .910. Still, in he’s 4-4-2 in his last 10. I have more confidence with him between the pipes than Jonathan Bernier.

The Habs played Carey Price last night, so expect Antti Niemi to get the nod tonight at Little Caesars Arena. He’s got an .889 save percentage so far this season and is 2-2-1 in his last five games.

HOW TO WATCH

Puck drop is at 7:30 P.M. ET and you’ll be able to watch the game with Ken, Mickey and the gang on Fox Sports Detroit. If you’re tuning in from Canada, the game will be broadcast on TSN2 or RDS for your frenchies.

As always, follow along with us on Twitter for excitement when the Wings score and disappointment when they’re scored on. Oh, and gifs. We’ll have lots of gifs.