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The Red Wings are trusting their depth in the face of injury and shuffling its lines with three forwards out for the contest against Anaheim.
Detroit is missing Tyler Bertuzzi (hand) and Robby Fabbri (knee). It will also continue to be without Jakub Vrana (personal, entered NFL Player Assistance Program).
Thursday’s practice gave a good look at what might be coming. Dylan Larkin centered the the line with David Perron and Dominik Kubalik. Andrew Copp sandwiched between Filip Zadina and Lucas Raymond. The Trees of Oskar Sundqvist, Michael Rasmussen and Elmer Soderblom did not change. Adam Erne, Joe Veleno, and Pius Suter skated together on the fourth line.
Coach Derek Lalonde said not to read too much into the pairings but GM Steve Yzerman also said that he trusts the guys in the lockeroom and does not have plans to make call ups from Grand Rapids. So, figure something similar to what happened in practice will carry over. Otherwise, why practice it?
The players who can take advantage here are (obviously) Kubalik and Zadina. Zadina was a healthy scratch the first two games of the season but saw plenty of icetime — in Vrana’s spot — in Game 3 and practice.
Where this game tips is more with the Ducks than with Detroit.
Anaheim is on the last stop of a five-game roadie. The results have not been good so far. After opening the season with a win against Seattle, the current swing has seen a loss to the Isles (7-1), Rangers (6-4), Devils (4-2) and an overtime point salvage in Boston (2-1). The stop in Detroit is unfriendly territory.
In case you were wondering, Anaheim is pretty terrible 8-28-9 in Detroit. It has also had a terrible road trip. Legs are undoubtedly tired and the negative results are piling up.
Detroit has had 10 players score goals so far this season and so the balance is there. Anaheim is on the road in a place it absolutely stinks at and looking forward to three days off before it hosts Tampa Bay.
It should be safe to assume Anaheim will want to get outta town quick. So take Detroit to win and get your free $200 from BetMGM when a goal is scored!