0
Photo Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

WGD #53: Three things to watch for against the Rangers

Last night’s 4-2 defeat at Madison Square Garden was not one of the Red Wings more memorable games of the season, to say the least. They’ll get a shot at redemption with the Rangers in town for the second half of a home-and-home series. But if Friday’s game was any indication of how this matchup will play out, Detroit could be in for a long night.

The Rangers are currently 7th in the Metropolitan Division with a 24-21-4 record and lead the season series 2-0. This will be the first meeting between these two teams at Little Caesars Arena this season.

Projected Lines

Detroit Red Wings

A scare from last night, Dylan Larkin exited the second period after taking a slapshot to the back of the knee. Fortunately, he returned to action and finished the game. Assuming no other complications arose, expect Larkin to suit up in his regular top-line center role.

Having Larkin in is great news. With Anthony Mantha and Andreas Athanasiou still out, the Red Wings can’t afford to lose another top-end forward. Valtteri Filppula is the next best option down the middle.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

New York Rangers

On paper the Rangers have a fairly decent team, especially up-front. Artemi Panarin, who scored a beautiful goal last night, is having a spectacular debut season on Broadway. In 48 games, the Russian superstar has amassed 27 goals and 70 points. Rightfully so, Panarin has garnered some Hart Trophy buzz. He and center Mika Zibanejad are the heartbeat of this Rangers offense.

Kaapo Kakko is another name with a high level of skill. The rookie winger has struggled at times this season, which is expected from an 18-year-old. But his unique blend of skill and size makes him a threat on any given shift.

Three Thoughts

1.) Game No. 1000 for Filppula

Valtteri Filppula will be skating in his 1000th NHL game in this one. A big-time milestone for any NHL player, Filppula has had an excellent career. And to achieve the 1000 game mark in the Winged Wheel only seems right. Over half of those games have come as a member of the Red Wings — 535 to be exact.

For those going to the game, expect there to be a pregame ceremony before puck drop.

2.) Lundqvist’s new role

Henrik Lundqvist has long been the face of the Rangers. “The King” was just recently named to the NHL’s all second-team of the 2010s, and even that seemed like an injustice to the former Vezina Trophy winner. At age 37, Lundqvist has cemented himself as the of the best netminders to ever play the game. He won’t have to wait long into retirement to be enshrined in the Hockey Hall of Fame.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

But for all that he has done over his career, times are starting to catch up. New York has two other young, high quality goaltenders in Igor Shesterkin and Alexander Georgiev. With those two in the mix, Lundqvist has only started in one game since Shesterkin was recalled from the AHL. Lundqvist’s last start was back on Jan. 11, over three weeks ago.

3.) The rematch

The Red Wings simply did not play a full 60 minutes last night. It was only until the third period that they started to play with more urgency. Detroit was outshot 27-15 in the first two periods. The first 40 minutes can’t happen again if they want this one to be competitive.

And hopefully this time around Detroit will get a few cracks on the man-advantage. The Rangers stayed disciplined and did not take a single penalty on Friday.