0

WGD #39: Three things to watch for against Florida

With the holiday season now wrapped up, it’s time to get back to work. For the Red Wings, their team is scheduled for a back-to-back in the warm state of Florida before heading back home to celebrate the new year. Coming into tonight’s contest, Detroit will be looking to end their current four-game losing streak.

As for Florida, their team is seeking to continue their recent hot stretch where they’ve won three of their last four games. During those three victories, the Panthers scored a combined 17 goals compared to just seven goals allowed.

With just three games remaining in 2019, here’s hoping the Red Wings are able to begin next year on a three-game winning streak.

Projected Lines

Detroit Red Wings

DEFENSIVE PAIRINGS
Patrik Nemeth
PATRIK NEMETH
Filip Hronek
FILIP HRONEK
Trevor Daley
TREVOR DALEY
Mike Green
MIKE GREEN
Alex Biega
ALEX BIEGA
Madison Bowey
MADISON BOWEY

Unfortunately for Detroit, Anthony Mantha is once again back on the shelf. Luckily, his latest injury has nothing to do with the nasty hit to the head he suffered against Toronto back on Dec. 21. This time, the 25-year-old will be sidelined for at least a month with a rib injury.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

In his place, Robby Fabbri will return to the Red Wings’ top line. With Mantha out long term, Fabbri will receive another opportunity to play alongside Dylan Larkin and Tyler Bertuzzi.

Florida Panthers 

DEFENSIVE PAIRINGS
Keith Yandle
KEITH YANDLE
MacKenzie Weegar
MACKENZIE WEEGAR
Michael Matheson
MICHAEL MATHESON
Mark Pysyk
MARK PYSYK
Anton Stralman
ANTON STRALMAN
Riley Stillman
RILEY STILLMAN

While the Panthers aren’t one of the highest-scoring teams in the league, limiting their top line from scoring will likely be a difficult challenge for the Red Wings. Specifically, Detroit will need to focus all of their attention on Jonathan Huberdeau and Aleksander Barkov during tonight’s contest.

So far this season, that duo has combined to score 88 points, which is 26.1% of Florida’s point total. The Huberdeau and Barkov tandem has also tallied a combined 15 points over their previous four games.

Three Thoughts

1.) Detroit Actually Cracks the Score Sheet 

During their previous matchup back on Nov. 2, the Panthers held the Red Wings off the score sheet throughout the entire game. While Detroit only created 22 shots on net, they still had multiple opportunities to score at least one goal. However, there’s a very good chance that their goalless streak against Florida ends later tonight.

Coming into tonight’s game, the Red Wings haven’t been shutout in eleven straight games. Despite averaging the third-fewest number of goals per game (2.22) this month, Detroit is at least averaging a pair of goals during each game. Meaning, the Red Wings may not come away from this game with a victory, but their team should be featured on the scorecard at least once tonight.

2.) Another Strong Performance By Dylan Larkin 

With Mantha sidelined for at least a month, Dylan Larkin will need to continue to serve as the source of the Red Wings’ offense. Through nine games this month, the 23-year-old leads Detroit in shots on goal (30) and sits fifth on the team in points (5) as well. In addition, Larkin also leads all Red Wings forwards in average TOI (21:05 minutes) this month.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

Throughout his five seasons in the NHL, Larkin has tailed more points against the Panthers compared to any other team in the league. During Larkin’s 16 career games against Florida, the left-hander has scored six goals and 14 points. As mentioned above, there’s a high possibility for Detroit to produce at least one goal in Florida tonight. Based on his impressive results during December, Larkin could very likely be the player to open the scoring for the Red Wings against the Panthers.

3.) Near Perfect Outing From Sergei Bobrovsky 

Overall, Sergei Bobrovsky has suffered a significant decline regarding his production so far this season. Through 28 starts, the 31-year-old has recorded a career-worst 3.20 GAA along with a .899 SV% as well. To make matters worse, Bobrovsky has allowed a combined ten goals over his last two starts.

However, the Red Wings have averaged the fewest number of shots on goal (26.1) per game this month. Their squad has also created the third-worst goals per game (2.22) average this month as well. So, this game should provide Bobrovsky with a great opportunity to turn his terrible season around.