The Carolina Hurricanes end this difficult road trip tonight back in the United States. The Canes will take on the Detroit Red Wings to bring this 6-game road trip to a close. After a victory in Ottawa, the Canes look to keep things rolling as they head home for the holidays.
The next 5 out of 7 games will be played at PNC Arena with two short trips to Nashville and Pittsburgh mixed into the schedule. The team can come up for air and get back on track before the end of the year.
As for this evening, Detroit has had a strong season and continues to show the league that they are ready to make a name for themselves. It didn't hurt that 3-time Stanley Cup champion, Patrick Kane, decided to take his talents to Detroit after making his rounds to interested teams. Kane is coming off surgery that held him out for the start of the season.
The Red Wings sit fourth in the Atlantic Division with 34 points. Toronto, Florida, and Boston are in front with the Bruins in first place, six points ahead of the Wings.
Detroit recently played on Tuesday night, defeating the St. Louis Blues and ultimately ending Craig Berube's tenure as head coach in St. Louis. Before that, they fell to the Dallas Stars, which many teams can be guilty of this season. Before the Stars, Detroit lost to Ottawa and San Jose so things have been inconsistent lately.
The Red Wings are 8-4-1 on home ice this season, while the Canes are just 7-10 away from home.
In Detroit, it is all about scoring for these Wings. The Red Wings have scored 106 goals which is second to only the Vancouver Canucks' 111 in the entire NHL. This will provide a big test for Pyotr Kochetkov after he regained form in Ottawa.
Newcomer and friend of Patrick Kane, Alex DeBrincant have had a phenomenal first season in Detroit. DeBrincant wanted to go back home, being a Michigan native and forced his way out of Ottawa. This season he leads the Wings with 13 goals and 26 points. A huge threat on the power-play, DeBrincant has 9 points with the man advantage.
The captain, Dylan Larkin, is right behind DeBrincant with 25 points. 11 of those 25 points are goals and leads all forwards in ice time with an average per game of 19:23. Unfortunately, he will not be in the lineup after suffering a serious injury against Ottawa. Lucas Raymond continues to grow in his fourth season with 10 goals and 24 points.
A familiar face is leading the way on the blue line for the Red Wings, Shayne Gostisbehere 5 goals and 21 points this season after signing in Detroit after his late-season stint in Raleigh. The rest of the defense does not put up many point totals but are slick skaters who will keep up with the Canes' rush.
In goal, the majority of the starts this season have gone to Ville Husso with 15 but they have a trio of contributors so far. James Reimer and Alex Lyon have had their hand in the remaining 14 games. Lyon has the least amount of games with 6 but has the best statistics with a 2.13 GAA and .931 save percentage.
Lyon had a rough start against Ottawa, surrendering 4 goals and being handed his first loss of the season. Husso got the win against the Blues and has a 3.68 GAA and .886 save percentage. I would expect to see Lyon return to the crease this evening.
Detroit is an extremely deep team and can score on any line. Daniel Sprong, J.T. Compher, and Andrew Copp are some of the secondary scorers with 13 or more points. Long-time sniper, David Perron is also on the roster with 7 goals this season. He was handed a 6-game suspension for jumping in after the Larkin injury and cross-checking a Senator in the head. He is appealing the suspension.
This game will be a chance for Kochetkov to stay hot as he will be tested early and often with quality chances. The Canes may be playing the Wings at the best time as they are suffering from injuries but will still be a difficult way to finish the road trip.