The Detroit Red Wings are on a two-game winning streak.
The Florida Panthers have won two of their last three games.
The Panthers were 3-0-0 against the Red Wings last season.
Odds Taken from FanDuel Sportsbook.
Detroit Red Wings
13-7-5 (3rd in Atlantic Division)
12-10-4 (5th in Atlantic Division)
Dylan Larkin (26)
Matthew Tkachuk (35)
Dominik Kubalik (10)
Carter Verhaeghe (15)
Filip Hronek (18)
Matthew Tkachuk (23)
Flip Hronek (13)
Josh Mahura (15)
Dylan Larkin (3.32)
Shots (Per Game)
Matthew Tkachuk (4.17)
The Detroit Red Wings will leave the cold and travel to warm Sunrise, Florida, to face the Panthers. The Red Wings are in third place in the Atlantic Division but can drop into a Wild Card spot with a loss. Their opponents, the Panthers, are three points outside of the second Wild Card spot but would inch closer with a win today.
The Red Wings missed the Playoffs last year and are looking much better this year. Their roster is not fantastic, but they have solid centers and wingers, decent defensemen, and a top-15 goalie.
The Red Wings are led by Dylan Larkin, Dominik Kubalik, and Filip Hronek. Dylan Larkin is a center and leads the team with 26 points. Larkin plays over 20 minutes a game and has a +/- of seven. Dominik Kubalik is a goal-scoring winger and leads the Red Wings with ten goals. Last but not least, we come to Filip Hronek. Hronek scores a little bit but is a pass-first defenseman. He also plays over 22 minutes a game and leads the Panthers with a +/- of 13.
Ville Husso has exceeded expectations in his first season in Detroit. Husso has an 11-4-3 and allows 2.54 goals per game. Those numbers are not elite, but they are solid and reliable.
The Panthers’ roster is fairly similar to last year’s, yet they are not producing the same result. Their offense lands in the top ten, but their defense and goaltending could use some work.
The Panthers are led by star Matthew Tkachuk. Tkachuk has 35 points (tied for the sixth-most in the league), six of which have come in the last three games. However, the American winger is not the only talent on this team. Carter Verhaeghe and Brandon Montour are also impressive. Verhaeghe is a natural goal-scorer and leads the Panthers with 15 goals. Montour is a defenseman and a natural passer; he has 17 assists and two in the last two games.
The Panthers have an interesting goaltending situation. Spencer Knight and Sergei Bobrovsky split time almost evenly but perform at different levels. Knight is having a decent season and has a .919 save percentage. However, Bobrovsky is struggling and has a .880 save percentage. If the Panthers plan to keep using them almost evenly, Bobrovsky needs to step up.
This game is quite even, but I would bet on the Panthers. Their offense is a little better, and their home-ice advantage will factor in a lot.
The Red Wings are the underdogs but will win with strong goaltending and solid defensive play.
The Red Wings are facing a Panthers squad that shoots over 38 times a game. That is an absurd amount of shots for any goalie to see in a game, and that is why they need strong goaltending. Whoever is in the net needs to play to the best of their ability.
As much as the Red Wings need strong goaltending, they also need to play tough defense. The Red Wings’ defensemen need to make like easier for their goaltender by limiting their shots to 35 or less.
The Panthers are the favorites but will only walk away victorious if they draw penalties and score first.
The Panthers have a mediocre power play unit and convert on only a little over 21% of their opportunities. Since Florida is not particularly efficient on the power play, they better draw a lot of penalties and give themselves opportunities.
The Panthers have scored the first goal in their previous six victories. This only leads me to say that Florida has to score the first goal again today. The odds of them winning jump up significantly if they score first.
Olli Maata is not a starting defenseman on the Red Wings but arguably could be. Maata is on the second line and plays for almost 21 minutes. He rarely scores and gets the occasional assist, but more importantly, the Red Wings are more productive when he is on the ice. Maatta has a +/- of 11, the second-highest on his team. His presence makes his teammates better.
Maatta is a solid player, but he will need to give it everything he has this game. He must embrace his role and leave it all out on the ice.
Sam Bennett is a reliable player on the Panthers. Bennett is yet to miss a game and has seven goals and 14 assists. However, he has had to take on a larger role in the absence of Aleksander Barkov. Barkov averaged almost a point a game before he went down with an injury in late November.
Aleksander Barkov will likely miss tonight’s game, so Sam Bennett has to continue making up for his absence.
What - Detroit Red Wings vs Florida Panthers
Where - FLA Live Arena, Sunrise, Florida
When - Thursday, December 8, 7:30 PM EST
How to Watch - ESPN+, Hulu
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Max Heering graduated from the University of Kansas Sport Management program in May 2020. Max follows and writes about the NBA, NFL, MLB, NHL, MLS, college football, and college basketball. In his free time, you can catch Max draining threes on the basketball court. Email: [email protected]More info on Max Heering
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