The Detroit Red Wings will continue their Florida trip with a matchup tonight against the Florida Panthers. The Red Wings are looking to pick up the third straight win and a fifth road win in a row. The Red Wings enter this one coming off their biggest win of the season, a 4-2 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning on Tuesday night. The Red Wings again got a goal from each line for the second consecutive game, with goals from Michael Rasmussen, Jonathan Berggren, Adam Erne, and David Perron.
The offensive lines heading into tonight are:
David Perron-Dylan Larkin-Lucas Raymond
Dominik Kubalik-Michael Rasmussen-Pius Suter
Adam Erne-Andrew Copp-Oskar Sundqvist
Jonathan Berggren-Joe Veleno-Austin Czarnik
There is no change from Tuesday night with the lines, riding a two-game winning streak; why tinker with anything, primarily when you have scored four goals in both of those games and gotten contributions from all four lines? It should be noted that Andrew Copp centering the third line, has three points in the last two games with a goal and two assists, so clearly, his playing alongside Erne and Sundqvist is making his play better after being one of the significant signings this offseason for the Red Wings.
The one player I would like to see get going tonight is Lucas Raymond, who has not found the score sheet much in the last five games, managing only just one point which was a goal on Sunday against Columbus. This would be a great game to see him get back on the score sheet and get his offensive game going again.
The defense will remain unchanged from Tuesday as well, with the lines being:
Ben Chiarot-Moritz Seider
Olli Matta-Filip Hronek
Jake Walman-Jordan Oesterle
I mentioned Filip Hronek in Tuesday's preview, but he was at it again in that game, getting two assists to give him the team lead in assists this season with 18. I was thinking during the game Tuesday, with the poorish play from Chiarot and Seider, that maybe it be beneficial to change the first and second lines, put Hronek and Seider together, and Chiarot and Matta together, and see if that could spark something. Still, for tonight the pairings will remain the same.
The two power-play lines for the Red Wings are as follows:
Oskar Sundqvist, Dylan Larkin, Dominik Kubalik, David Perron, and Filip Hronek.
Jonathan Berggren, Andrew Copp, Lucas Raymond, Ben Chiarot, and Moritz Seider.
On the power play this season, the Red Wings Red currently rank 19th in the league in power play, scoring 20 goals on 92 opportunities for a 21.7% scoring rate. The Red Wings did not tally a power play goal in Tuesday's game after they had two chances.
On the Penalty Kill, the groupings are:
Dylan Larkin, Michael Rasmussen, Ben Chiarot, and Moritz Seider.
Andrew Copp, Adam Erne, Olli Matta, and Filip Hronek.
This group is the only change to the lineup as Pius Suter was taken off the PK, Michael Rasmussen was moved to the first line, and Adam Erne was added to play alongside Andrew Copp. The Red Wings have scored two shorthanded goals this season on the Penalty Kill, with Larkin and Suter scoring the goals. The PK unit ranks 15th in the league in killing the power play of their opponents, allowing only 15 goals out of the 71 opportunities for a percentage of 78.9%.
The starting goalie for tonight's game has not been announced yet. As of the other day, Derek LaLonde said it would be Alex Nedeljkovic, but after the game, Ville Husso played on Tuesday night, we'll see if he changes his mind about his starting goalie.
If it's Alex Nedeljkovic, it would be his first start since last Tuesday when he got the start against the Buffalo Sabres, a game in which the Red Wings lost in a shootout. Nedeljkovic kept the Red Wings in that game when they came back from down 4-1 and tied it at four's to force overtime. Nedeljkovic has a 2-3-2 record this season with a 3.97 Goals Against Average, and a .880 save percentage. Ville Husso will get a much-needed night off after starting the last three straight games.
If it's Ville Husso, it would be his fourth consecutive start and his making 19th start of the year. Husso stood on his head for the Red Wings in their 4-2 victory over the Lightning on Tuesday, stopping 44 of the 46 shots he faced. Husso posts a record of 11-4-3 this season with a 2.54 Goals Against Average, and .916 save percentage.
HOW TO WATCH/LISTEN – Detroit Red Wings vs. Florida Panthers
Where: FLA Live Arena in Sunrise, Florida
Radio: 97.1 FM (Red Wings radio affiliates).
Tonight is another tough one for the Wings as the Florida Panthers are sitting just three points back of the Red Wings. The Panthers won the president’s trophy last year, and the Red Wings went 0-3-1 against them last year. This is a big game for the Red Wings to get some distance in the division and hold onto that three seed in the Atlantic Division.