Updated 3x at 2:34 PM: The Detroit Red Wings will start Jimmy Howard opposite John Gibson as the teams tangle this evening (7:30 PM EST on FSD/Prime Ticket/97.1 FM).
The morning skates revealed that the Wings will reunite Larkin and Athanasiou, but Tyler Bertuzzi will do some penance on the fourth line; Trevor Daley is also going to play despite blocking a nasty Capitals shot in the 3rd period of Sunday’s game.
After the Ducks’ morning skate, a couple of noteworthy Tweets rolled in…
John Gibson is your Ducks starter tonight against the Red Wings. Looks like Antoine Vermette draws back in on fourth line.
— Eric Stephens (@icemancometh) February 13, 2018
— Anaheim Ducks (@AnaheimDucks) February 13, 2018
And AnaheimDucks.com’s Kyle Shohara penned a superb game preview:
The Ducks (27-19-11, 65 points) begin a four-game road trip this evening against the Detroit Red Wings (22-23-9, 53 points) at Little Caesars Arena (4:30 p.m. PT, TV: Prime Ticket, Radio: 830). With points in three consecutive games (2-0-1), Anaheim also owns points seven of its last nine (5-2-2) and has gone 13-6-3 in its last 22.
Anaheim has found success this season against Atlantic Division foes, earning points in six of the last eight games (5-2-1) since November 15 vs. Boston. This, however, is the first of a two-game season series between the Ducks and Red Wings and the club’s first glimpse at Detroit’s sparkling new arena. Opened on September 7 with an approximate cost of $862.9 million, Little Caesars Arena is home to the Red Wings and Detroit Pistons. The Red Wings previously played at Joe Louis Arena since 1979.
This is a crucial road trip for the Ducks, who find themselves just one point out of third place in the Pacific Division behind Calgary. A 3-2 shootout loss two nights ago at home against the San Jose Sharks was a game the Ducks could have closed out in regulation, but two unanswered goals by San Jose in the third period eventually forced OT and then a shootout, where Joe Pavelski and Logan Couture scored to give the Sharks an all-important extra point. Divisional games of importance tonight include San Jose hosting Arizona, Calgary at Boston and LA at Carolina.
“It’s a key time of the year,” said Adam Henrique. “We can either put ourselves in a great spot moving forward for the stretch, or we could go the other way. Our mindset going in is that we need to put points on the board. We know it’s a big trip for this team. We know it could be a great trip for us. Just like our last road trip, we want to get off to a good start and start with a huge win tonight.”
John Gibson will make his third consecutive start tonight. The 24-year-old netminder is 19-14-6 with a 2.60 goals-against average and .923 save percentage in 42 games this season. In five career games against Detroit, Gibson is 3-2-0 with a 2.28 GAA, .919 SV% and one shutout.
The Ducks own an all-time mark of 26-45-12 against the Red Wings, including a 7-26-8 mark in Detroit. Though road wins in the Motor City have historically been hard to come by for Anaheim, those contests were held at The Joe – long revered as one of the most intimidating buildings to play in. Since the 2013-14 season, the Ducks have gone 6-2-0 against the Red Wings, including a 3-1-0 mark in Detroit. Ryan Getzlaf ranks fifth among active NHL skaters in career scoring against the Red Wings with 40 points (11g/29a) and third in career assists. Getzlaf enters tonight’s game riding a five-game scoring streak (six points, 2g/4a) vs. Detroit dating to Oct. 11, 2014.
MLive’s Ansar Khan penned a short game-day update:
Howard starts: Howard will start tonight for the Red Wings against the Anaheim Ducks at Little Caesars Arena (7:30, Fox Sports Detroit). Defenseman Trevor Daley is good to go, after injuring his hand blocking a shot in Sunday’s 5-4 overtime victory at Washington.
Here are the lines and defense pairs they skated with this morning:
Gustav Nyquist-Henrik Zetterberg-Anthony Mantha
Tomas Tatar-Dylan Larkin-Andreas Athanasiou
Darren Helm-Frans Nielsen-Justin Abdelkader
Martin Frk-Luke Glendening-Tyler Bertuzzi
David Booth (anticipated scratch)
Niklas Kronwall-Mike Green
Jonathan Ericsson-Trevor Daley
Danny DeKeyser-Nick Jensen
Xavier Ouellet-Luke Witkowski (anticipated scratches)
Update: Here’s NHL.com’s Dave Hogg’s game preview:
The Game: The Anaheim Ducks will try to move up the Western Conference standings when they play the Detroit Red Wings at Little Caesars Arena on Tuesday.
The Ducks, who are 7-3-2 in their past 12 games, trail the Minnesota Wild by one point for the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the West. They lost 3-2 in a shootout to the San Jose Sharks on Sunday.
The Red Wings ended a three-game losing streak (0-2-1) with a 5-4 overtime victory against the Washington Capitals on Sunday. Detroit, which has blown three-goal leads in the third period of its past two games, is eight points behind the Carolina Hurricanes for the second wild card into the playoffs from the Eastern Conference.
Players to watch: Ducks forward Rickard Rakell has nine points (four goals, five assists) in his past seven games. Rakell leads Anaheim with 45 points (22 goals, 23 assists) in 52 games.
Red Wings center Dylan Larkin has four assists in a three-game point streak after going scoreless in five straight games. Larkin has a NHL career-high 34 assists in 54 games.
Hogg also posted a probable Ducks lineup:
Ducks projected lineup
Rickard Rakell — Ryan Getzlaf — Corey Perry
Update #2: Among the Detroit News’s Ted Kulfan’s notes are a discussion of the Wings’ shaky power play…
Blashill feels the unit will regain its balance and get back to the level it did the five games previous to the weekend, when it killed 10 of 11 power plays.
“That’s the important part, we had a good penalty kill for a long time, and we have real good penalty killers,” Blashill said.
The return of defenseman Trevor Daley and forwards Justin Abdelkader and Darren Helm from injuries, which sidelined them in late January, strengthened the penalty kill until last weekend’s slide. Blashill has confidence in assistant coach Doug Houda’s plan on the penalty kill, and feels the unit simply has to regain some belief.
Kulfan discussed the Wings’ desire to hold 3rd period leads…
Holding and maintaining a third-period lead has been difficult for the Red Wings lately, although Daley has a recipe to cure that.
“Keep doing what got us the lead,” Daley said. “When you get the lead, you have to maintain the reason why you got that lead and just keep doing it.”
Fathers, or mentors, or friends, were beginning to trickle into town for the upcoming fathers’ trip this weekend, on the road trip to Tampa Bay and Nashville. Most players have their fathers along for the trip, or maybe an in-law, or former coach, or longtime friend.
Martin Frk didn’t bring his dad along this time, but a former teammate from junior hockey.
“I asked him to come along and he’s real excited,” said Frk, adding the two attended Monday’s Pistons game. “It’s great. Like I said, he’s very excited.”
The Red Wings posted their Game-Day Preview video as well:
RARE GAME AGAINST DUCKS: The Wings will welcome the Anaheim Ducks to Little Caesars Arena for the first time tonight.
A team that used to be a Western Conference rival is now one they rarely face.
But the Ducks still have Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry, players Wings fans love to hate.
“Those two are world-class hockey players. Both of them,” Daley said. “They both play on the same line, too. They’ve been the best 1-2 punch I think for a long time now. If you think about it, they’ve stayed the same. It’s always a great competition to play against them. Over the years I’ve had some good battles against those guys. I’m looking forward to tonight.”
Getzlaf has seven goals among 35 points, second on the team in points to All-Star teammate Rickard Rakell, who has a team-leading 22 goals among 45 points. Perry is fourth on the team with 32 points.
“Obviously try to cut off the back of the net on those guys and not let them work behind the net,” Abdelkader said. “I think we got to use our speed tonight. We’re a team that when we get up and skate, we’re really tough to play against. Obviously they’re a bigger team that try to come out and play physical and play hard and we got to use our speed to create opportunities that way.”
Tonight the first 7,500 fans will receive a Luke Glendening bobblehead doll. A few of Glendening’s teammates weighed in on what they thought of it.
“Facial hair, pretty accurate. His is obviously way longer than this,” defenseman Nick Jensen said. “Great hair as usual. He takes a lot of pride in his hair. So it definitely looks good, definitely accurate there. Skating stride looks a little stiff but other than that, it looks good. I like it.”