Bottom feeders of the Central Division take the ice in Columbus
The Detroit Red Wings and Columbus Blue Jackets face off tonight in Columbus in a battle for the bottom of the Central Division. The Red Wings currently sit in seventh place in the division with 42 points two ahead of the Blue Jackets. After a four games series with the Dallas Stars in which the Red Wings went 1-1-2 the Red Wings are hoping to improve their road record of 6-15-3. The Blue Jackets on the other hand are hoping to stop the bleeding after having lost their last nine games. Here are the projected lineups for tonight’s game.
Columbus Blue Jackets:
The Blue Jackets are a bit shorthanded after having traded away Captain Nick Foligno, forward Riley Nash, and defenseman David Savard. Additionally, they are without forwards Emil Bemstrom, Gustav Nyquist, Boone Jenner, and defenseman Zach Werenski due to injury.
If they were to lose tonight it would be the first time in franchise history that the team has gone winless in ten straight. To break the streak the Blue Jackets will need Oliver Bjorkstrand to continue his hot streak, he is on a five-game point streak with one goal, five assists for six points. Bjorkstand leads the team with 15 goals, 23 points, for 38 points this season.
Eric Robinson – Max Domi – Oliver Bjorkstrand
Liam Foudy – Jack Roslovic – Patrik Laine
Mikhail Grigorenko – Alexandre Texier – Cam Atkinson
Nathan Gerbe – Ryan Macinnis – Stefan Matteau
Michael Del Zotto – Seth Jones
Vladislav Gavikov – Mikko Lehtonen
Gavin Bayreuther – Dean Kukan
Detroit Red Wings:
While many may be hoping that the Red Wings would be improving their lottery odds right now, they keep getting points out of the majority of their games. With most of the roster playing for contracts and young players looking for their shot in the NHL, this team continues to compete.
Joining Michael Rasmussen, Filip Zadina, and Evgeny Svechnikov as young players auditioning for the NHL is center Joe Veleno. Returning from the Swedish Hockey League having played for the Malmo Redhawks where he had 11 goals and nine assists for 20 points, Veleno is set to make his debut tonight.
— Detroit Red Wings (@DetroitRedWings) April 27, 2021
Veleno returned a few weeks ago and has been practicing with the team after he had cleared quarantine. However, he had not cleared due to concussion protocol an injury he suffered while playing in Sweeden. He is set to slot into the third line with veterans Richard Panik and Sam Gagner.
With Veleno joining the lineup there are set to be a few changes to the lineup. Adam Erne who currently leads the team in goals scored with the Red Wings jersey on is expected to move up the lineup to the second line with Vladislav Namestnikov and Filip Zadina.
In hopes of providing some defensive support to two young guns, Valtteri Filppula is expected to join the top line with Jakub Vrana and Michael Rasmussen. While on the fourth line Darren Helm and Luke Glendenning hope to continue their defensive prowess while adding a scoring touch with Svechnikov.
With 12 forwards expected to be in the lineup, unless “bump and bruises” disrupt the plan, the Red Wings are expected to go with six defensemen. Dennis Cholowski and Gustav Lindstrom have performed well since their call-up and can arguably use some additional ice time.
One factor to watch out for is the additional minutes this tends to place on Filip Hronek and both Cholowski and Troy Stecher typically do not see any time on the team’s penalty kill. In the last few games, Stecher has joined Cholowski or Hronek on the team’s power-play as a left flank. This will be something to keep an eye on during tonight’s game.
The Red Wings have continued their rotation in net with Thomas Greiss and Jonathan Bernier alternating each game. Bernier had an incredible game on Saturday versus the Stars stopping 50 of 52 shots. Greiss is expected to get the start in net tonight.
Jakub Vrana – Michael Rasmussen – Valtteri Filppula
Adam Erne – Vladislav Namestnikov – Filip Zadina
Richard Panik – Joe Veleno – Sam Gagner
Darren Helm – Luke Glendenning – Evgeny Svechnikov
Dennis Cholowski – Filip Hronek
Marc Staal – Troy Stecher
Danny DeKeyser – Gustav Lindstrom