Things finally look like their changing for the better in Detroit. After an absolutely horrible start to their season, the Wings have won their past three games. They have the opportunity to continue their winning streak tonight in Los Angeles.
The Red Wings will be without the services of two of their best defensemen as they face the Kings. Against all odds and maybe even all logic, rookie d-man Filip Hronek will be a scratch tonight. On top of that, rookie forward Taro Hirose is set to be a healthy scratch. As if this wasn't enough, Patrik Nemeth is out do to an illness.
Nemeth had been playing on the top defensive pair alongside Hronek for most of this season. The imposing Swede logged in big minutes in most of his team's games and was more often than not tasked with shutting down the best opposing forwards, while Hronek was providing offence from the blue line with 4 goals and 10 points in 20 games.
His injury comes as a huge blow to the Detroit Red Wings as they lack depth, particularly in defense after a long term injury to hometown boy, Danny DeKeyser and to veteran Trevor Daley. Hronek and Nemeth were two of the most important players for the Wings coming into the season. In their absence, two players have been called up from Grand Rapids in the AHL in last 24 hours. Veteran Jonathan Ericsson who had been waived earlier this season, as well as the speedy Joe Hicketts will make their way back to Hockey Town to replace the sidelined players.
Veteran Jonathan Ericsson will step into the lineup to replace Nemeth. He will take part in his first game for the Wings since being waived earlier this season and will form a shutdown pair with Dylan McIlrath. Alex Biega will also be back as he lines up alongside Dennis Cholowski.
On offense, Givani Smith who was called back up from Detroit's affiliate as well will replace Taro Hirose and take his usual spot on the right wing of the fourth offensive line. He will play with Christoffer Ehn and Darren Helm.
Here is the Red Wings' projected lineup for tonight's game against the L.A. Kings according to NHL.com correspondent Dan Greenspan:
Tyler Bertuzzi - Dylan Larkin - Anthony Mantha
Robby Fabbri - Valtteri Filppula - Andreas Athanasiou
Brendan Perlini - Frans Nielsen - Adam Erne
Darren Helm - Christoffer Ehn - Givani Smith
Madison Bowey - Mike Green
Alex Biega - Dennis Cholowski
Jonathan Ericsson - Dylan McIlrath
Joe Hicketts, Filip Hronek and Taro Hirose are set to be healthy scratches while the Wings injury woes continue. Patrik Nemeth, Justin Abdelkader, Luke Glendening, Trevor Daley and Danny DeKeyser are all out due to different ailments.
The Wings are without the services of a core group of veterans and will have to find a way to keep the good times going tonight against the Los Angeles Kings. It should be a good one!