Time: 7:00 PM EST
Place: Little Caesars Arena
Radio: 97.1 FM
Blue Jackets Blog: The Cannon
The Red Wings aren’t messing around anymore.
Following his first practice since his suspension, captain Dylan Larkin had this to say:
“You see it out on the ice — we have each other’s backs. We’re going to have to continue to keep doing that and we’re going to continue to get a little smarter and not let it get us off our game, but enough is enough with teams pushing us around. We have to stand up for ourselves.”
This newfound tenacity will play a key role as the Red Wings fight their way through the season. Fortunately, Joseph’s hit on Larkin didn’t reaggravate his neck injury. Additionally, he’s made amends with Joseph and the two have mutually exchanged apologies. With Larkin back, the Bertuzzi-Larkin-Raymond looks poised to keep up the outstanding chemistry they established in the home opener.
Filip Zadina lived up to his billing on Saturday’s game, scoring a massive goal against Vancouver. If he can keep this momentum going, he’ll have a very strong season ahead of him — and he might even show it off tonight against Columbus. Here’s hoping that the towering, titanic forward doesn’t have another David vs. Goliath hit by someone a whole two inches shorter than him.
Speaking of momentums, Moritz Seider scored his third point in two NHL games. This, of course, puts him on pace for 123 points in his rookie season — a clearly sustainable and definitely not unrealistic at all pace. Seider appears to be more comfortable than ever before. Teasing Victor Hedman and standing up against some of the tougher Canucks left Seider unfazed.
Thomas Greiss had an outstanding game against Vancouver, stopping 40 of 41 shots. The Red Wings have surrendered 89 shots in two games. Containing a high-voltage team like the Tampa Bay Lightning can be a challenge, but to give up that many shots to the Cancuks invites some worry heading into Columbus, a team that’s scored ten goals in their first two games. If Blashill decides to keep the 1A-1B tandem going, Alex Nedeljokvic will receive the starter’s nod tonight.
Yesterday’s practice saw Rowney and Gagner rotating in and out of the 4RW role. As of right now, it looks like Rowney will keep up what he’s put together in the game against Vancouver.
Marc Staal missed practice yesterday with an undisclosed injury. If he can’t play tomorrow, he’ll likely be replaced by Jordan Oesterle. The Red Wings appear to be running a 3LD 3RD formation, keeping the handedness fairly even. Unfortunately, this has kept Troy Stecher from the roster. If he doesn’t play tonight, this will be Stecher’s third game of the season as a healthy scratch.
Who to watch in Columbus
The last bout against the Blue Jackets went a little less than ideal. Columbus took advantage of Detroit’s tired presence this preseason and peppered on the shots. One in particular – the Patrik Laine move against Seider – will likely be on the latter’s mind as the game commences. Despite their rebuilding status, the Blue Jackets come packed with a variety of offensive weapons, from Laine to Jakub Voracek to former Red Wing Gustav Nyquist.
If the Red Wings aren’t careful, this game could go south fast. Underestimating Zach Werenski & co. spelled the doom of the Arizona Coyotes, who surrendered eight goals in the season opener. It goes without saying that Detroit has a better lineup than Arizona, but the Seattle Kraken also fell prey to the cannon of Columbus. Tonight’s game will be a good test for Lucas Raymond and Seider as they face off against a team in a similar situation to the Red Wings.
The Red Wings aren’t the only team to feature high-potential rookies. Cole Sillinger, drafted 12th overall in the most recent draft, is one of the youngest rostered NHL players this season. His linemate, Max Domi, was placed on long-term injured reserve yesterday and will remain out for at least the next few weeks. With that in mind, expect Sillinger to either move up in the lineup or earn a new linemate to back him alongside Alexandre Texier. This is a less-than-ideal situation for Sillinger, who will need consistency to stick in the lineup.
With Domi out, another rookie may enter the fold: Yegor Chinakov. For those who don’t remember, Chinakov was considered a very off-the-wall pick by Jarmo Kekalinen and Columbus. Since then, Chinakov has absolutely blown away nearly everyone outside of the Blue Jackets’ front office, excelling in every level of the KHL. If he cracks the NHL this season, expect to see his name come up among Calder Trophy finalists. For fans that watched the Prospect Tournament, Chinakov was the Blue Jacket who was very noticeable every time he set foot on the ice.