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Photo Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

WGD #20: Three things to watch for against Anaheim

After beginning the season 4-12-1, the Red Wings have now won back-to-back games against two of the better teams in the league. The recent acquisition of forward Robby Fabbri has also largely paid off as well. Fabbri has totaled a pair of goals and three points since being acquired by Detroit. That production is a huge reason for the Red Wings’ two-game winning streak.

Entering tonight’s contest, the 9-8-1 Ducks have lost three straight and have surrendered a combined 13 goals during that span. Hopefully, the Red Wings will be able to add to that total later tonight, as they have tallied a total of seven goals during this mini winning streak.

Projected Lines

Detroit Red Wings

DEFENSIVE PAIRINGS
Patrik Nemeth
PATRIK NEMETH
Filip Hronek
FILIP HRONEK
Dennis Cholowski
DENNIS CHOLOWSKI
Dylan McIlrath
DYLAN MCILRATH
Madison Bowey
MADISON BOWEY
Mike Green
MIKE GREEN

Following the Red Wings back-to-back wins, coach Jeff Blashill has smartly decided to keep his lineup the same for tonight’s matchup against the Ducks. With the success his team has had over the past few games, who can blame him for wanting to keep his lines intact. If it’s not broke, don’t fix it.

With the early success from Fabbri, it appears the Red Wings now own two lines that they can rely on for offensive production this season. If the Red Wings can receive consistent performances from their bottom-six forwards, then this team will surely be one to look out for throughout the rest of the season.

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Anaheim Ducks

DEFENSIVE PAIRINGS
Michael Del Zotto
MICHAEL DEL ZOTTO
Cam Fowler
CAM FOWLER
Josh Mahura
JOSH MAHURA
Erik Gudbranson
ERIK GUDBRANSON
Jacob Larsson
JACOB LARSSON
Korbinian Holzer
KORBINIAN HOLZER

So far this season, the Ducks have suffered mightily from inconsistent performances from all four of their lines. Recently, the Ducks’ top-line centered by captain Ryan Getzlaf has been held without a single point for two straight games. While Anaheim does have a ton of talent throughout their lineup, they have yet to produce like they’re capable of doing.

Goaltender John Gibson has also been performing near an All-Star level once again this season, as he owns an impressive 2.80 GAA and a .915 SV% through 14 starts this season. Gibson would also be able to record even better numbers this season if he received improved support from his team in front of him.

Three Thoughts

1.) Continued Success from Fabbri

Despite trading for Fabbri less than a week ago, it’s already clear that the Red Wings have won the deal with the Blues. Prior to the trade, the Red Wings were seriously lacking secondary production throughout their lineup. However, Fabbri has now seemingly sparked the Red Wings’ second line, who has produced four points over their last two games.

Fabbri has also sustained the majority of his success while on speical teams, as two of his three points have come during the powerplay. Over the Red Wings’ previous two games, their squad has converted on three of their seven opportunities with the man-advantage. With the number of goals the Ducks have allowed recently, Fabbri and the Red Wings should be able to continue their impressive offensive productivity.

2.) Quiet Night for Howard

So far this season, goaltender Jimmy Howard hasn’t exactly been generating All-Star caliber numbers. Through 10 starts this season, the 35-year-old has recorded a career-worst 3.99 GAA and a disappointing .887 SV% as well. But Howard can’t entirely be blamed for these awful results, seeing as he hasn’t received consistent support from his defense.

Luckily for Howard, he’ll be provided with a chance to bounce back against the Ducks in pleasantly warm Anaheim. While the rest of us get buried with snow back on the east coast, Howard will be in for a bit of a relaxing night. Coming into this game, the Ducks have averaged the fourth-fewest number of shots on net (28.7) per game. With Howard losing in each of his previous three starts, this game should help him end his personal losing streak.

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3.) Recent Dominance by Silfverberg 

Entering tonight’s game, winger Jakob Silfverberg has been one of the Ducks’ best players so far this season. Through 18 games, Silfverberg leads his team with 14 points, thanks to a dominant stretch over his last 5 games. During that time, Silfverberg has tallied five points, including his go-ahead goal against the Canucks back on Nov. 1.

Despite Silfverberg’s recent production, the Ducks have failed to score more than just two goals in four of their last five games. So, even if the Red Wings aren’t able to contain Silfverberg during this game, they should be able to prevent his teammates from producing much offensively.