Red Wings and Blue Jackets Faceoff in the Last Series of the Season
The season ends this weekend for both the Detroit Red Wings and Columbus Blue Jackets as neither team is going to make the playoffs this season. These last two games are a battle for who ends up at the bottom of the Central Division. The teams will play in back-to-back games Friday and Saturday. While some players may be playing for pride, others are playing for contracts. Some players are also getting their first look at the NHL level. Below are the projected lineups for tonight’s game.
Columbus Blue Jackets:
The Blue Jackets have not lost a game in regulation in their last five games despite their roster being depleted by injuries and trades. Four of those games have gone past regulation for a record of 2-0-3. Oliver Bjorkstrand leads the team with 17 goals, 25 assists for 42 points. While the Blue Jackets have struggled in a lot of areas, one highlight is their penalty kill. In the last 23 games, they have stopped 51 of 57 power-play chances. They have also scored the first goal of the game 31 times this season, tied for sixth-most in the NHL.
Head coach John Tortorella is currently tied for 12th place in NHL history with 672 career wins. In what has been a tumultuous season for the coach, which might be his last with the organization, it would be a nice way for him to go out. In the season series, the Blue Jackets are 3-2-1 against the Red Wings and 2-0 at home in Nationwide Arena. Matiss Kivlenieks is expected to get the start in net tonight.
Oliver Bjorkstand – Max Domi – Cam Atkinson
Mikhail Grigorenko – Jack Roslovic – Emil Bemstrom
Liam Foudy – Kevin Stenlund – Patrik Laine
Nathan Gerbe – Ryan MacInnis – Eric Robinson
Michael Del Zotto – Seth Jones
Vladislav Gavrikov – Scott Harrington
Gavin Bayreuther – Andrew Peeke
Detroit Red Wings:
After a rare four-day layoff, the Red Wings are finishing up the season on the road and looking to finish the season strong. One point behind the Blue Jackets in the standing the players are hoping to climb the standings to show they have competed in a tough division. Head coach Jeff Blashill did mention that not finishing last this season is a motivating factor. The Red Wings did make their customary roster moves today recalling forwards Mathias Brome, Givani Smith, and Joe Veleno from the Taxi Squad. With Robby Fabbri finally being confirmed out for the season it’s likely that either Smith or Brome get the call into the lineup.
— Detroit Red Wings (@DetroitRedWings) May 7, 2021
With the long layoff, it’s likely that players had some time to heal up some bumps and bruises that have plagued the team this season. Along with the additional call-ups, it is likely that the Red Wings go with the traditional 12 forwards and six defensemen. For the last fourteen games, the team has rotated Thomas Greiss and Jonathan Bernier in the net. Bernier got the last start against the Tampa Bay Lightning so Greiss is expected to get his last start of the season tonight. Since Bernier returned from injury in April Greiss has been on fire going 5-2-4 and improved his goals-against average to 2.73 and his save percentage to .911.
Jakub Vrana – Michael Rasmussen – Filip Zadina
Adam Erne – Joe Veleno – Valtteri Filppula
Richard Panik – Vladislav Namestnikov – Sam Gagner
Darren Helm – Luke Glendening – Givani Smith
Dennis Cholowski – Filip Hronek
Marc Staal – Troy Stecher
Danny DeKeyser – Gustav Lindstrom
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