Toronto Maple Leafs vs Detroit Red Wings: Game 34
Time: 7:30 EST
Location: Dominoes Pizza Arena
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!
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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
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
Morgan Rielly - Ron Hainsey
Jake Gardiner - Nikita Zaitsev
Andreas Borgman - Roman Polak
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
Gustav Nyquist - Henrik Zetterberg - Justin Abdelkader
Tomas Tatar - Dylan Larkin - Anthony Mantha
Darren Helm - Frans Nielsen - Luke Glendening
Luke Witkowski - Andreas Athanasiou - Martin Frk
Danny Dekeyser - Mike Green
Jonathan Ericsson - Trevor Daley
Niklas Kronwall - Nick Jensen
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.