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Gameday: Leafs at Red Wings

Is Detroit bad, mediocre? What can we expect?

Toronto Maple Leafs v Detroit Red Wings Photo by Dave Reginek/NHLI via Getty Images

Toronto Maple Leafs @ Detroit Red Wings
7 PM on SN, BSDET (this is not the HNIC game, that’s the Oilers at Canadiens)

Tonight’s game marks the beginning of the payback for all those skipped games earlier in the season. Two more games are packed into the start of the week before the All-Star Break which gives the Leafs five days off. Then shit gets real with games every two to three days.

That’s likely why we’re seeing Petr Mrázek in net tonight. The plan was to rotate between the goalies all season, but injuries make a mockery of most hockey plans. Expect this sort of rotation to continue as long as it can.

Us

I’ve begun to bore myself with how much I hate these new lines, and how much the lesser players end up playing, but the Ducks and the Red Wings are good teams to experiment against. And everyone does an ill-advised acoustic album eventually, why not Keefe?

Michael Bunting - Auston Matthews - Ondřej Kaše
Ilya Mikheyev - John Tavares - Mitch Marner
Alexander Kerfoot - David Kämpf - William Nylander
Pierre Engvall - Jason Spezza - Wayne Simmonds

Morgan Rielly - T.J. Brodie
Rasmus Sandin - Justin Holl
Travis Dermott - Timothy Liljegren

Petr Mrázek
Jack Campbell

Them

Who are the Red Wings? Are they a good team — they just beat the Penguins in a shootout:

Are they a bad team? This is their lineup:

Vlad Namestnikov - Dylan Larkin - Lucas Raymond
Tyler Bertuzzi - Pius Suter - Robby Fabbri
Adam Erne - Michael Rasmussen - Filip Zadina
Givani Smith - Joe Veleno - Sam Gagner

Jordan Oesterle - Moritz Seider
Marc Staal - Filip Hronek
Nick Leddy - Gustav Lindström

Alex Nedeljkovic
Thomas Greiss

Pickard was up as an emergency recall last night, because Greiss wasn’t available. The starter hasn’t been revealed yet.

By the standings, the Red Wings are at .500 and have a stranglehold on fifth place in the Atlantic. So they aren’t Montréal or Ottawa, and they seem superficially mediocre. However, at five-on-five, they are solidly bad at Corsi %, and Expected Goals only makes them a little better. They’re middle of the pack in shooting and save percentage, and their power play looks to be not very good.

They have a lot of their wins against weak teams, and they only have 11 wins in regulation out of 19. So they’ve been a bit situationally lucky in close games.

They aren’t terrible, they aren’t quite good enough to be truly mediocre. Something to strive for!

The Game

If there’s a team you don’t really need a shutdown line against, it might be this one. Tyler Bertuzzi is having a career season, however, with 20 goals in only 36 games. He’s never scored more than 21 before. He gives them two fairly plausible second lines. They don’t have a first line, that’s just how it is. But two seconds is all they have.

A little defensive discipline by the Leafs (why are you laughing?) and some strong offence, and even if the mystery goalie has a great night, this should be a firm and convincing win.

Go Leafs Go!

Not ill-advised: