The Detroit Red Wings begin a set of 4 games to be played over the course of 6 nights by hosting the Columbus Blue Jackets on Tuesday (7:30 PM on Bally Sports Detroit/Bally Sports Ohio/97.1 FM).
Columbus is 2-and-0, having most recently defeated the Seattle Kraken 2-1 in overtime on Saturday night, but they lost Max Domi today to a broken rib suffered in Saturday’s game. It’s believed that Yegor Chinakov will replace Domi in the Blue Jackets’ lineup.
The Blue Jackets didn’t practice on Monday, but the Blue Jackets’ PR Twitter account posted a couple of ugly stats regarding the Blue Jackets’ record against the Red Wings of late:
Columbus is 43-46-14 all-time vs. Detroit, including 18-26-6 on the road… Columbus is 11-3-2 in its last 16 at Detroit… The Jackets went 4-3-1 vs. the Wings in 2020-21.
Field Level Media set up tonight’s game by looking back at their performance on Saturday:
The Columbus Blue Jackets and Detroit Red Wings tied for last place in the Central Division last season. Their head-to-head matchups were nearly a draw as well, with the Blue Jackets winning the season series 4-3-1. They’ll play for the first time this season in Detroit on Tuesday night.
Columbus has won its first two games, thumping the Arizona Coyotes 8-2 and squeaking past the expansion Seattle Kraken 2-1 in overtime.
“I liked as a team that we grinded this one out, that we had to stick with it,” Blue Jackets first-year coach Brad Larsen said. “We had to really dig deep to try to come back in the third period here. It was a 1-0 game going to the third, so one shot away. We just said, don’t get frustrated, don’t implode ourselves here, stick to the plan. I liked our third.”
Patrik Laine scored the game-winner after contributing two assists in the opener. The Blue Jackets expect Laine to rebound from a down season in which he only scored 12 goals in 46 games after being acquired from Winnipeg. He averaged 34.5 goals in his first four seasons.
“I have seen a different guy. You can feel it,” Larsen said. “He worked at it this summer. He got himself in better shape, and he has a little chip on his shoulder. He wants to prove to everybody that he still has a lot of game.”
Laine had no goals and three assists in six appearances against the Red Wings last season.
Boone Jenner – Cole Sillinger – Max Domi
Elvis Merzlikins (confirmed starter)
Injured Reserve: Emil Bemstrom (oblique; four to six weeks as of Oct. 14)
Sportsnet posted a clip of Blue Jackets-Kraken highlights if you’re interested in doing a “pre-scout”:
Heading into tonight’s game, DetroitRedWings.com’s Brett McWethy noted that the Red Wings’ power play is clicking at an excellent pace:
Early indications are that the Red Wings’ investment into the power play during the offseason is paying dividends. Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill brought in assistant coach Alex Tanguay to head up Detroit’s power play, which finished 30th among 31 NHL teams in power play percentage (11.4 percent) last season.
In a small sample size, the Red Wings have scored on the power play in each of the first two games, with Bertuzzi and Filip Zadina both finding the back of the net.
“Every power play unit – you want to be right at 20 percent,” Larkin said. “Alex [Tanguay] talks about that a lot – not too much, but he knows that’s our goal. I think we need to build our power play into that momentum. If we don’t score, it’s momentum for the next shift and the next power play. Then, when we get a power play late in the game – if it’s a tie game or a one-goal game – that’s when we capitalize. That’s what good power play units do, and what good teams do. It helps the team win.”
According to Blashill, Detroit’s power play success this season will be predicated on an opportunistic, yet attacking strategy.
“I think they have an understanding of what Alex wants them to do, which is pretty simple,” Blashill said. “Quick puck movement, take what’s given, be ready to attack. We’ve got to keep getting better at it, and it’s going to be a big piece of success. I gave our guys this stat before the year: in the last five years, if a team won the specialty teams battle, 76 percent of the time, you win the hockey game. That’s a huge percentage. So let’s find ways to make sure we win the specialty teams battle.”
Sans a Blue Jackets practice on Monday, that’s all the news I could dig up regarding tonight’s game…The blanks will be filled in over the course of the game day itself.
Update: This text comes from ColumbusBlueJackets.com’s Jeff Svoboda’s game-day preview:
Know the Foe: It’s already been a wild start for the Red Wings, who opened with a back-and-fourth 7-6 overtime loss to Tampa Bay in which Detroit blew a late 6-3 lead, but the team came back Saturday to earn its first victory of the season with a 3-1 triumph over Vancouver.
Tonight’s game will be the third straight home contest to kick off the campaign for the Red Wings, who again have made some big changes in the hope of accelerating a rebuild that now includes 5 straight seasons without a postseason berth, a far cry from the 25-year streak that playoff seasons that preceded it.
Steve Yzerman’s team continues to build its youth, as first-round picks from 2017-20 – forward Michael Rasmussen (2017), forward Filip Zadina (2018), defenseman Moritz Seider (2019) and forward Lucas Raymond (2020) are all in the lineup. But the team also brought in some reinforcements this offseason in former Islanders defenseman Nick Leddy and former Carolina goaltender Alex Nedeljkovic.
“They’re a good hockey team,” Werenski said. “They played Tampa tough, obviously a high-scoring game in game one. They probably should have won it. They lost a lead late, and then they ended up beating Vancouver, who is a good hockey team as well. It’s not the Detroit I feel like that has been around the last few years. I feel like they’ve turned the page a little bit.”
Tyler Bertuzzi had a night to remember in the opener, notching four goals to become the ninth player in NHL history to do so in a lid-lifter. So far, his four tallies are tied for the most in the NHL, and he also has an assist to give him five points and a plus-5 rating. Robby Fabbri (1-2-3) and Seider (0-3-3) are next in the scoring race, while captain Dylan Larkin had a goal in the opener but was suspended against Vancouver for retaliating for a hit laid by Tampa’s Mathieu Joseph.
In net, Nedeljkovic got the loss in the Lightning game, giving up seven goals on 48 shots, while Thomas Greiss returns and won the Vancouver game with 40 saves on 41 shots against.