Of text-related note ahead of tonight’s game between the Florida Panthers and Detroit Red Wings (7:00 PM on FSD Plus/FS Florida/97.1 FM):
Okay, not just in text: here’s the Wings’ Game Day Preview…
And now, the text stuff:
1. NHL.com’s Alain Poupart does a nice job of setting up tonight’s game from both teams’ perspectives:
The Detroit Red Wings will be looking for their fourth consecutive road victory when they face the Florida Panthers at BB&T Center on Saturday.
Detroit extended its road winning streak Friday with a 4-1 victory at the Carolina Hurricanes. In his second game after missing six games with a leg injury, Darren Helm had a goal and two assists. Petr Mrazek made 37 saves.
Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill has made no announcement as to his starting goalie. Mrazek is 4-0-1 in his last five starts and has a 1.02 goals-against average and a .967 save percentage in his last six appearances. He started both games when the Red Wings played Jan. 22-23.
The Panthers will be looking for their third consecutive victory after defeating the New York Islanders (4-1) and Buffalo Sabres (4-2) on the road this week.
Players to watch
Red Wings defenseman Trevor Daley has three goals in his past four games.
Poupart continues, listing both teams’ probable lineups…
2. From the Panthers’ perspective, FloridaPanthers.com’s Jameson Olive penned a game preview…
With back-to-back victories out of the break, the Panthers now trail the Philadelphia Flyers by just eight points for the second wild card spot in the Eastern Conference with two games in hand. With 33 games left to play in the 2017-18 season, Boughner said he’s not looking too much at the big picture right now.
“There’s still a lot of hockey left,” Boughner said. “I think a while back we were really concentrating and scoreboard watching… It’s tough psychologically to do that every day. I think that we’re just taking it day by day now and trying to just concentrate on the team that night and trying to get those points and then concentrating on the next team. We’re trying not to look too far ahead.”
The Red Wings (21-21-8), who sit two points ahead of the Panthers in the standings, are coming off a 4-1 victory in Carolina on Friday night. Detroit is 3-1-2 on the second night of back-to-backs this season and is expected to start Jimmy Howard after backup Petr Mrazek made 36 saves against the Hurricanes.
Dylan Larkin leads the Red Wings with 38 points (8-30-38), while right-winger Anthony Mantha has contributed 14 assists and a team-high 16 goals. All-Star defenseman Mike Green has 26 points (5-21-26) in 50 games, which is good enough for 25th among all NHL blueliners.
Florida is 1-1-1 against the Red Wings this season, most recently suffering a 4-2 loss in Detroit on Jan. 5.
“We thought we played a good game in Detroit last time, and we didn’t get anything for it,” Boughner said.
Olive continues, and the Panthers posted a video in which coach Boughner, Vincent Trocheck and Michael Matheson all talk about tonight’s game…
Trevor Daley scored the only goal in their 2-1 shootout win over the Sharks. Daley and Danny DeKeyser both tallied in Friday’s victory at Carolina. Add in Jonathan Ericsson’s tally during Detroit’s 3-2 overtime loss to Philadelphia, and the Wings have counted four goals from defensemen in four games. That’s quite an uptick for a team that’s garnered just 16 tallies from defenders over the course of the 49 games played this season.
“We saw what they can do, what the team can do when we get a couple of goals from them,” forward Darren Helm said after Friday’s win at Carolina.
Detroit used to run among the NHL leaders in scoring from defensemen back in the days when they suited up the likes of Nicklas Lidstrom, Larry Murphy, Brian Rafalski and Chris Chelios. That’s no longer the case, and when you consider that Daley and Green each have five goals, the depth of scoring from Detroit’s back end is dramatically limited.
The Wings view this sudden surge of defensive scoring as an overall part of a renewed strategy since they came back from the NHL All-Star break to pick up the pace in terms of putting shots on goal.
“We’re just trying to get a lot more pucks to the net,” Helm said. “We’ve always been a team that wants to get the puck to the point if we can and get a shot on net and get some traffic.”