0
Photo Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

WGD #30: Three things to watch for against the Islanders

Following the Red Wings’ 5-2 loss against the Capitals, Detroit has now extended their current losing streak to nine games and continue to sit at the bottom of the league with a terrible record of 7-19-3. To make matters worse for Detroit, they’re set to welcome the Islanders tonight, who like Washington, are one of the best teams in the Eastern Conference.

Coming into tonight’s game, New York owns the second-best record within the Metropolitan division. Despite their impressive record, the Islanders have lost three of their previous four games. Additionally, the Islanders failed to score more than just a pair of goals combined during those three defeats. Given Detroit’s offensive struggles this season, this will likely become another low scoring affair at Little Caesars Arena, that will likely be decided by just a single goal.

Projected Lines

Detroit Red Wings

DEFENSIVE PAIRINGS
Patrik Nemeth
PATRIK NEMETH
Filip Hronek
FILIP HRONEK
Dennis Cholowski
DENNIS CHOLOWSKI
Mike Green
MIKE GREEN
Alex Biega
ALEX BIEGA
Dylan McIlrath
DYLAN MCILRATH

Since the Red Wings have continued to struggle offensively, head coach Jeff Blashill has once again shuffled up his top two lines. With forward Anthony Mantha still on the mend, Detroit has yet to find a suitable replacement for him on the first line. So, forward Luke Glendening will be the latest player to be featured alongside Dylan Larkin and Tyler Bertuzzi.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

Based on his performance against the Capitals, it’s not surprising for Glendening to be rewarded the very next game. During the game against Washington, the 30-year-old recorded a goal along with a season-high four shots on net as well. With Glendening transitioning to the top line, Robby Fabbri has been returned to the second line, along with Andreas Athanasiou, who’s been featured on the third line recently.

New York Islanders

DEFENSIVE PAIRINGS
Adam Pelech
ADAM PELECH
Ryan Pulock
RYAN PULOCK
Devon Toews
DEVON TOEWS
Scott Mayfield
SCOTT MAYFIELD
Nick Leddy
NICK LEDDY
Johnny Boychuk
JOHNNY BOYCHUK

Despite the lack of superstar talent on this team, the Red Wings can’t afford to take the Islanders lightly. Former Rookie of the Year award winner Mathew Barzal is currently leading New York in scoring with his ten goals and 22 points through 24 games this season. The 22-year-old center is also coming off a two-point game against the Blue Jackets as well.

If the Red Wings are able to contain Barzal during this game, then New York will likely have a very tough time creating much offensive production against Detroit.

Three Thoughts

1.) Another Dominating Game in Faceoff Circle

During their defeat against the Capitals, the Red Wings outperformed their opponent within the faceoff dot, winning 56% of the total faceoffs. While Washington has been an average faceoff winning team so far this season, as they’re tied for the 16th-best FOW percentage (49.9%), Detroit’s impressive results in the faceoff circle still came as a surprise.

Overall, the Red Wings have recorded the 12th-worst FOW percentage (49.3%) throughout the entire league. However, New York has performed even worse than Detroit at winning faceoffs this season. Entering this game, the Islanders have generated a 49% FOW percentage this season, which ranks tenth-worst in the league. Despite New York’s poor performance as a team in the faceoff dot, the lone player who Detroit will need to concern themselves with is fourth-line center Casey Cizikas, who has recorded a team-leading 57.6% FOW percentage this season.

2.) Still Awaiting Eric Comrie’s Wings Debut

Following this game, Detroit is off until Saturday when they will welcome the Penguins to town. So, one would think this game against the low-scoring Islanders would provide a great opportunity for newcomer Eric Comrie to make his debut with Detroit. However, barring some kind of injury or blowout, fellow goaltender Jonathan Bernier will play the entirety of this matchup.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

Comrie, who last started with the Tucson Roadrunners back on Nov. 22, could soon be sent back to the AHL as injured goalie Jimmy Howard is expected to return from the IR very shortly. Hopefully, the 24-year-old will get his chance to start for Detroit within the next few games, if he’s still in the NHL by then.

3.) Low Scoring Performance

Tonight’s game includes two of the lowest-scoring teams in the entire league. Currently, the Red Wings have averaged to score the fewest number of goals per game (2.14). While the Islanders are in the middle of the pack with the 17th-best 2.88 goals/game this season, their team has also produced the fewest amount of shots on net per game (28.3) throughout the entire league so far this season.

Similar to New York, Detroit has also been one of the worst teams in the league at creating shots on net, as they own the fourth-fewest number of shots on net per game (29.1). The Islanders also own arguably the best goaltending duo in the league as well. Both Thomas Greiss and Semyon Varlamov own GAA’s under 3.00, with Greiss ranking just second in the league in that category.