WGD: Game 29: Red Wings vs. Maple Leafs
All eyes in the hockey world will be on tonight’s Original 6 match-up, but not because of the bitter rivalry between the two teams. Tonight, the Leafs get William Nylander back, creating what could arguably be the deadliest top-4 forwards combo in the league.
The Red Wings, on the other hand, are devastated with injury and looking to snap their two game losing skid. Lots of fanbases make fun of the Wings, but they’ve performed admirably in a tough stretch of games this week. They’ve collected three points through their games against the Bruins, Avalanche, and Lightning. There were definitely bumps along the way, but this team has been showing that they have more fight in them than what was originally thought.
With Danny DeKeyser being the latest victim of injury, the Wings called up Brian Lashoff today from Grand Rapids. Fans may have preferred one of the younger guys to be called up, namely Filip Hronek or Libor Sulak, but the fact of the matter is that the call-up is only with the team in case of emergency. He’ll be sitting in the press box until Trevor Daley is ready to return to the lineup in a week’s time. It’s much better for Hronek and Sulak to play full-time in Grand Rapids than watch the Wings from the press box.
No changes to the forward lines as Nyquist and Nielsen come off a spicy hot game against the Lightning where they combined for five goals. It’s definitely nice to have the vets producing again, especially with the absence of Anthony Mantha.
Babs is wasting no time with Nylander as he’s going to slot right into that top line on Auston Matthews’ wing. I’m not sure how the Wings are going to handle this roster. The Leafs are probably the deepest team in the league. Yeah, there are some knocks against their defensemen, but Morgan Rielly and Jake Gardiner have performed admirably this year.
They also have a fantastic goaltender in Frederik Anderson.
Jonathan Bernier vs Garret Sparks
Luckily for the Wings, they won’t have to face Anderson tonight. Instead, we get a battle of the back-ups as Bernier gets the nod for Detroit and Sparks gets the nod for Toronto.
Sparks has a great save percentage of .924 this season, but he’s been hot and cold in his last five games. In his last appearance against the Philadelphia Flyers, he recorded his first career shutout.
Bernier played fine against Colorado on Sunday. I have no issue with him playing against his former teams. He’s mostly just fine in general.
Puck drop is at 7:00 P.M. ET tonight and you can catch the game on Fox Sports Detroit or Sportsnet Ontario if you’re tuning in from Canada.
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Author: Nick Seguin