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Leafs at Red Wings Preview: Everything’s Fine

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The Leafs visit Detroit for a rare Friday night game.

Toronto Maple Leafs v Detroit Red Wings Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

Toronto Maple Leafs vs Detroit Red Wings: Game 34

Time: 7:30 EST

Location: Dominoes Pizza Arena

Broadcast/Streaming: TSN

Opponent SBNation Site: Winging It In Motown

After a brief early-season spurt, the Red Wings are spiraling down into the NHL’s cellar, an inadequate roster weighed down with bad contracts. But everything’s fine!

(Little aside: the latest from Protomartyr was one of the best two rock albums in 2017, for my money. Check it out.)

The Leafs are coming in from Minnesota last night, whereas Detroit has had a night off. Even against a team in decline, the Leafs are going to have to play well to get the win, and their recent performances haven’t always been the best.

Toronto Maple Leafs

Forward Lines

Zach Hyman - Patrick Marleau - William Nylander

Leo Komarov - Nazem Kadri - Connor Brown

James van Riemsdyk - Tyler Bozak - Mitch Marner

Matt Martin - Dominic Moore - Josh Leivo

Defence Pairings

Morgan Rielly - Ron Hainsey

Jake Gardiner - Nikita Zaitsev

Andreas Borgman - Roman Polak


Curtis McElhinney

Frederik Andersen

Until we hear otherwise, we’re assuming the lines are the same as they were in Minnesota last night other than Curtis McElhinney getting the start on the B2B, although it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Babcock break out the blender. This lineup misses Auston Matthews like the desert misses the rain.

Detroit Red Wings

Forward Lines

Gustav Nyquist - Henrik Zetterberg - Justin Abdelkader

Tomas Tatar - Dylan Larkin - Anthony Mantha

Darren Helm - Frans Nielsen - Luke Glendening

Luke Witkowski - Andreas Athanasiou - Martin Frk

Defence Pairings

Danny Dekeyser - Mike Green

Jonathan Ericsson - Trevor Daley

Niklas Kronwall - Nick Jensen


Jimmy Howard

Peter Mrazek

As much as the Red Wings are a clear victim of Not Enough Good Players Syndrome, they have a couple of names worth mentioning. Anthony Mantha impresses me as one of the Wings’ most dangerous forwards every time we play them, and he’s really coming into his own this year, on pace for a career high in points. His trio with Tomas Tatar and Dylan Larkin gives the Wings a strong offensive second line.

Henrik Zetterberg is getting old, but he ain’t dead yet, and while he’s showing his age he’s still capable of giving hell to unwary teams. The Wings generally play a well-structured game and will give teams a fight.

Having said that, the defence is pretty feeble. Mike Green is still a high-end powerplay specialist. After that? This is the second-worst defence group in the Atlantic, and being ahead of Buffalo in that regard is clearing a three-inch hurdle. They’re not great, is what I’m saying.

As much as our Leafs have been unimpressive of late, they still ought to be favoured in this one. Bag a win here, boys.

Go Leafs Go.