The Red Wings media have reported the opening lineup for Friday's game vs Toronto.
Justin Abdelkader-Henrik Zetterberg-Dylan Larkin
Tomas Tatar-Brad Richards-Gustav Nyquist
Johan Franzen-Riley Sheahan-Teemu Pulkkinen
Drew Miller-Luke Glendening-Landon Ferraro
Forwards Tomas Jurco and Joakim Andersson will be healthy scratches.
Jonathan Ericsson-Niklas Kronwall
Kyle Quincey-Mike Green
Brendan Smith-Jakub Kindl
- If Larkin and Pulkkinen are ready and Franzen is effective, this is potentially a very powerful top nine forwards. If not, then this could be a fairly weak top nine.
- The bottom line has speed, but not much toughness.
- Jurco in the press box is a surpise. But Ferraro plays the PK, so he's in. Someone has to PK.
- The biggest concern with this lineup is defense. Ericsson is weak as a top pairing defenseman. Kyle Quincey and Mike Green are two guys who've never been considered reliable or particularly steady in their own end. And then your third pairing is Brendan Smith and Jakub Kindl -- two offensive defensemen who've never produced anything but turnovers and defensive gaffes. Both defensemen want to resurrect their career under Jeff Blashill. Two thoughts here. 1) If these guys are paired with the fourth line and taking defensive zone draws, it could be a long night. 2) Hope Kindl plays left and Smith is on the right. Both are left-handed shots. But Smith came up playing Right Defense.
- Howard over Mrazek isn't a big surprise. Howard is starting against a coach who didn't trust him, so hopefully he's motivated. The Leafs don't have much high-end skill, but if they're buying in to Babcock's system, they're going to get in behind our D, work hard behind the net and crash the net net whenever they can.
- First line -- If Larkin is ready, he and Zetterberg should create chances and Abby will be there to chip in. If Larkin's not ready, this line could have matchup issues.
- Second line - Nyquist and Tatar have that "Eurotwin" kind of chemistry. Only question here is if anyone is going to play defense. If these guys aren't spending their entire shift in the Ozone, they could find themselves in trouble.
- Third line -- Sheahan is a chameleon. He can masquerade as a scoring line center if his wingers are working it. Franzen and Pulkkinen are offensively skilled wingers, but Franzen hasn't been very good in a long time and didn't show much in the pre-season, and Pulkkinen is a bit one-dimensional
- Foruth line - Lots of speed and work ethic. Glendening and Ferraro will finish their checks, but not many people in the Joe will notice. All three will PK.