Morning Skate: Red Wings vs Capitals – Preview, How to Watch
Time: 7:00 PM EST
Square: Little Caesars Arena
TV: BSDET, NBCSWA
Radio: WXYT-97.1 FM
Uppercase BLog: Japers Ice Rink
The Red Wings kick off the 25th anniversary celebrations of the 1997 and 1998 Stanley Cup championships tonight against the Washington Capitals. It is rumored that there will be pre-game ceremonies tonight and for Saturday afternoon’s games against the Islanders.
Detroit could definitely use a boost from these festivities as they try to shake off the hammering they received from the Sabers on Monday night. While at one point he came close to a goal in the 3rd period, Buffalo went all out in the final minutes to blow the Wings up 8-3, while dominating much of the game. It was Detroit’s third resounding loss in four games, a stark contrast to their strong start to the season.
The Wings will be hoping Michael Rasmussen, back from his two-game suspension, will provide a boost to their depth up front as they deal with a string of injuries early in the season. Rasmussen was skating between Zadina and Kubalik in practice yesterday. Lalonde made further changes to the lines in an attempt to shake things up by adding Perron to the top line along with Larkin and Raymond. Copp was centered between Soderblom and Erne, with Veleno skating between Suter and Luff on the fourth row. The defensive pairs, however, remained intact.
By moving Kubalik to Zadina’s line, Lalonde may be hoping it will kick start production for Zadina. With 0 points in 7 games, he is going to miss opportunities when some of the injured forwards start to come back as he could easily be the odd one out given his stat line.
Detroit will need to find form to face the Capitals who have had at least one point in 7 of their last 9 games, despite losing their last two in overtime and shootout respectively. The offseason addition of Dylan Strome has proven fruitful for Washington, with the center tied for the team lead with 9 points apiece for him and Ovechkin. As is always the case against Ovechkin, one of the best ways to keep him from killing you is to stay out of the box and avoid letting him play on the power play.
Darcy Kuemper will likely leave for Washington after having the night against Vegas on Tuesday. Kuemper has taken the lion’s share of the work in net, starting 8 of 11 for the Caps, posting a .922 SV% so far this season. It looks like Ville Husso will get the start for Detroit after Nedeljkovic was left for all 8 goals against Buffalo and was understandably frustrated when the red light kept going out behind him in the final minutes of this game. Although he would of course like some of those goals to be recovered, it might have been just as important to the effort of the team in front of him.
Expect to see Detroit come out with a spirited effort after a lackluster week before that. This will be among Lalonde’s first tries. How fast can he get that club out of a skid to minimize the damage. Every team has setbacks, good courses correct quickly. We’ll see if tonight is the turning point.