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GAME DAY: Red Wings welcome Tatar’s Devils to Little Caesars (8:00 p.m. ET, BSDET)

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Photo credit:Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
Mike Gould
11 months ago
@Tomas Tatar will take the ice at Little Caesars Arena on Saturday when his New Jersey Devils take on the Detroit Red Wings at 8:00 p.m. ET.
It’ll be Tatar’s first game back in Detroit as a member of the Devils. The 31-year-old winger spent parts of seven seasons with the Red Wings before being traded to the Vegas Golden Knights in 2018; he joined the Devils as an unrestricted free agent this past August after finishing up a three-year stint with the Montreal Canadiens.
Tatar recorded 115 goals and 222 points in 407 career games with the Red Wings. He has six goals and 14 points in his first 28 contests as a Devil.
His new team has struggled as of late, having dropped its last four decisions by a combined 18–8 score. The Red Wings have fared only slightly better, with losses in four of their last five games (the only win coming by a 2–1 score against the New York Islanders on Dec. 14).
Detroit most recently fell 5–3 to the shorthanded Carolina Hurricanes on Thursday. @Sam Gagner, @Dylan Larkin, and @Tyler Bertuzzi scored in the loss; Red Wings goaltender and former Hurricane @Alex Nedeljkovic allowed four goals on 32 shots.
New Jersey’s undoing this year has been its goaltending. @Mackenzie Blackwood (5–6–3, .902 SV%) has struggled in the starter’s role while a crop of five different backups has rotated behind him without much success.
Saturday’s game will be the first of three meetings this season between Detroit and New Jersey. The two teams will have to wait until the final week of April for the final two games of the series.

The Red Wings

@Robby Fabbri and @Michael Rasmussen remain in COVID-19 protocol for Detroit. Here are the combinations the Red Wings went with on Thursday:
@Tyler Bertuzzi – @Dylan Larkin – @Lucas Raymond
@Pius Suter – @Vladislav Namestnikov
@Filip Zadina – @Joe Veleno – @Adam Erne
@Givani Smith – @Carter Rowney – @Sam Gagner
Danny DeKeyser – @Moritz Seider
@Nick Leddy – @Filip Hronek
@Jordan Oesterle – @Gustav Lindstrom
@Marc Staal
That’s right: Detroit dressed 11 forwards and seven defencemen on Thursday.
@Thomas Greiss (5–6–0, .889 SV%) could very well get the nod against the Devils. He hasn’t posted a save percentage greater than .900 in a game since Nov. 11.

The Devils

New Jersey went with these lines in Thursday’s 5–3 loss to the Vegas Golden Knights:
@Pavel Zacha – @Jack Hughes – @Jesper Bratt
@Andreas Johnsson – @Dawson Mercer – @Tomas Tatar
@Janne Kuokkanen – @Yegor Sharangovich – @Marian Studenic
@Jimmy Vesey – @Michael McLeod – @Nathan Bastian
@Ty Smith – @Dougie Hamilton
@Jonas Siegenthaler – @Damon Severson
@Mason Geertsen – @Kevin Bahl
Blackwood should start for New Jersey on Saturday, with journeyman @Jon Gillies likely serving as his backup for a second consecutive game.

Scoring leaders

Detroit: @Lucas Raymond (10 goals, 27 points); @Dylan Larkin (12 goals, 25 points); @Moritz Seider (three goals, 20 points); @Tyler Bertuzzi (10 goals, 19 points); @Filip Hronek (three goals, 15 points).
New Jersey: @Jesper Bratt (eight goals, 24 points); @Andreas Johnsson (nine goals, 19 points); @Dougie Hamilton (six goals, 16 points); @Nico Hischier (three goals, 16 points); @Pavel Zacha (nine goals, 15 points).

Players to watch

Detroit: After a brief absence, Danny DeKeyser returned to his old spot on Detroit’s top pair in Thursday’s loss. He didn’t fare particularly well, with his -0.47 game score ranking well below his partner, @Moritz Seider, and most of his counterparts on the Red Wings’ defense. DeKeyser has just two assists in 24 games this year and has taken another noticeable step backwards in his own zone. At this rate, the 31-year-old pending UFA might have trouble finding an NHL contract after this season.
New Jersey: After emerging as a quality NHL player last season, @Michael McLeod has struggled to produce on a consistent basis to kick off 2021–22. While he remains a competent penalty-killer, McLeod has seen his output go from nine goals in 52 games last season to just one in 28 contests this year. The good news: McLeod has taken a small step forward recently after being reunited with longtime teammate and “Super Buddy” @Nathan Bastian, who rejoined the Devils off waivers last month after being selected by the Seattle Kraken in July’s expansion draft.

Viewing and listening options

Saturday’s Red Wings game will be broadcast on Bally Sports Detroit starting at 8:00 p.m. ET. It’ll be sent over the airwaves on WXVT-FM 97.1 “The Ticket” in the Detroit area, as well as on the Red Wings’ official website.

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