0

WGD: Game 75: Red Wings vs. Golden Knights

The Red Wings coast-to-coast trip continues tonight with a stop in Las Vegas to play the Vegas Golden Knights.

The Golden Knights have had quite the introduction to the league, making it to the Stanley Cup Finals in their inaugural season. Those who thought they were a flash in the pan were dead wrong. Their season this year hasn’t been as strong as last, but they are firmly in the third place spot of the Pacific Division. Far from anyone above or below them, they’ll coast into the post-season once again this year.

Because they’re on the west coast, we as Red Wings fans don’t get to see them play that often. Going back to last year, the Wings are 1-2-0 against the Golden Knights with a minus-2 goal differential. Due to the current state of the Red Wings roster, I wouldn’t expect them to put up another win, but they have some young exciting talent who are still a bit of wild cards. Today’s morning skate hasn’t been held yet, so there could be some changes to the below lines. But here’s where we’re at right now:

THE RED WINGS

LW C RW
Darren Helm
Darren Helm

Rating: 70.6#149 LW

Dylan Larkin
Dylan Larkin

Rating: 77.6#32 C

Anthony Mantha
Anthony Mantha

Rating: 73.9#50 RW

Tyler Bertuzzi
Tyler Bertuzzi

Rating: 73.0#64 LW

Andreas Athanasiou
Andreas Athanasiou

Rating: 78.0#31 C

Luke Glendening
Luke Glendening

Rating: 69.5#125 RW

Thomas Vanek
Thomas Vanek

Rating: 71.7#81 LW

Frans Nielsen
Frans Nielsen

Rating: 71.6#119 C

Taro Hirose
Taro Hirose
Christoffer Ehn
Christoffer Ehn

Rating: 69.4#126 LW

Michael Rasmussen
Michael Rasmussen

Rating: 70.8#142 C

Ryan Kuffner
Ryan Kuffner
Defensive Pairings
Dan DeKeyser
Dan DeKeyser

Rating: 71.2#97 LD

Filip Hronek
Filip Hronek

Rating: 71.5#83 RD

Niklas Kronwall
Niklas Kronwall

Rating: 71.3#95 LD

Madison Bowey
Madison Bowey

Rating: 68.8#102 RD

Libor Sulak
Libor Sulak

Rating: 72.5#70 LD

Brian Lashoff
Brian Lashoff

Rating: 72.0#68 RD

At this point of the season, I’m not sure why Blashill isn’t playing Michael Rasmussen more. What does it matter if him or Luke Glendening rounds out the top-6? He’s a young player who still has a lot to give. That being said, I have noticed some fatigue in Rasmussen’s game lately. Likely the long grind of an NHL season getting to him.

Taro Hirose has been a standout in his NHL debut, recording an assist in each of the games that he’s played in. What does it say when a college free agent can walk onto the team and get half the points that Jonathan Ericsson has in just two games? That’s no knock against Hirose, he’s a very smart player who moves the puck well. He could be an upgrade to the bottom-6 next year if Holland can work some magic with the albatross contracts. Don’t count on it, though.

THE GOLDEN KNIGHTS

LW C RW
Jonathan Marchessault
Jonathan Marchessault

Rating: 80.5#8 LW

William Karlsson
William Karlsson

Rating: 78.9#25 C

Reilly Smith
Reilly Smith

Rating: 78.4#18 RW

Alex Tuch
Alex Tuch

Rating: 77.1#26 LW

Paul Stastny
Paul Stastny

Rating: 77.6#34 C

Mark Stone
Mark Stone

Rating: 80.3#9 RW

Brandon Pirri
Brandon Pirri

Rating: 73.8#70 LW

Cody Eakin
Cody Eakin

Rating: 73.0#83 C

Ryan Carpenter
Ryan Carpenter

Rating: 72.3#74 RW

Will Carrier
Will Carrier

Rating: 71.6#91 LW

Pierre-Édouard Bellemare
Pierre-Édouard Bellemare

Rating: 70.8#139 C

Ryan Reaves
Ryan Reaves

Rating: 71.6#85 RW

Defensive Pairings
Nate Schmidt
Nate Schmidt

Rating: 77.8#10 LD

Deryk Engelland
Deryk Engelland

Rating: 72.4#61 RD

Brayden McNabb
Brayden McNabb

Rating: 73.6#48 LD

Shea Theodore
Shea Theodore

Rating: 78.2#8 RD

Jon Merrill
Jon Merrill

Rating: 73.1#57 LD

Colin Miller
Colin Miller

Rating: 77.5#20 RD

It’s hard to argue that this team hasn’t been built for another Cup run this year. They’ve made some significant upgrades to their top-6 in Paul Stastny, Mark Stone, and Max Pacioretty (who’s currently injured). Some other significant injuries to their top-6 are Tomas Nosek and Erik Haula, both of who could be huge difference makers in the playoffs.

I do think that they’re weak point is their blue line. Nate Schmidt is great, not elite. And Engelland, McNabb, and Theodore are good, not great. They get an immense amount of help from their goaltending and it’s a good thing the forwards can score.

BETWEEN THE PIPES

Jimmy Howard vs. Malcolm Subban

The one thing the Wings have going for them tonight is that they won’t be facing Marc Andre Fleury. Subban has played in 15 games this season, posting a 7-7-1 record. He has  a.906 save percentage, which is pretty par for his career average. The Knights are likely just resting Fleury for the playoffs.

After a terrible outing in St. Louis, Bernier will be sitting tonight and Jimmy Howard is getting the nod.

HOW TO WATCH

Puck drop is at 10:00 P.M. ET tonight and you’ll be able to watch the game with Ken and Murph on Fox Sports Detroit.