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Scouting the Enemy: Detroit Red Wings

Florida is 9-13-5-3 all-time against tonight's opponent, the Detroit Red Wings.

Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

The Panthers have faced the Red Wings 30 times since their inception, and have just nine victories to show for it. They've also earned points with three overtime losses and five ties, with 13 regulation losses. Florida has, however, started to close the gap, with five wins in their last seven matchups, including both of this season's games. The last time they played, on December 12th, the Panthers took 65 minutes plus two rounds in the shootout to defeat the Wings, 3-2. Now, on to tonight's version of the opponent.

Left Wing

Gustav Nyquist, Tomas Tatar, Luke Glendening, and Stephen Weiss will line up left of center in tonight's contest.

Nyquist is in his fourth NHL season, and has totaled 19 goals on 108 shots with 17 assists in 47 games. The 5’10", 185 lb. winger was Detroit’s fourth round pick back in 2008 out of Sweden, and ranks second on the team with 36 points thus far. He’s a natural center, but can (and does) play both wings. Although he’s undersized, he’s loaded with offensive ability. He’s naturally elusive, cerebral, and talented. He’s playing 17 minutes per game and has earned a plus-50 Corsi in 60% offensive zone starts.

Tatar is tied for the team lead with a 5.2 point share, and fourth on the team with 34 points. He’s also in his fourth NHL season, and leads the team with 21 goals on 120 shots, along with 13 assists in 47 contests thus far. Detroit’s second round selection back in 2009 out of Czechoslovakia, he’s also a natural center. Tatar plays 15:32 per game and has totaled an impressive plus-200 Corsi with 60% positive zone starts. He has good speed, tenacity, and versatility, but he lacks strength.

Glendening is in his second NHL season, and like his two left wing compadres has played 47 games this season. He’s also similarly sized, at 5’11", 195 lbs. He plays 14 minutes per game, and has totaled four goals and three assists. Glendening has sound defensive instincts and is a hard worker, but due to his offensive shortcomings, he’s unlikely to progress in his career past the bottom six at the NHL level. He’s second on the team with 83 hits, and isn’t afraid to lay his body down, blocking 39 shots. His defensive-mindedness has led to him taking the bulk of his shifts on the defensive half of the ice. He started 30% of the time in the offensive zone, and correspondingly has logged a minus-100 Corsi rating.

Weiss should be familiar to Panthers fans. He’s Florida’s all-time leader with 654 games played, and second all-time with 394 points. He’s also Florida’s all-time leader with 249 assists. Now in his second season with Detroit, he has five goals and nine assists in 24 contests. He has good two-way instincts, is creative, and makes his teammates better. He’s 5’11", 190, 31 years-old, and not at all a physical player. He’s been playing 11 minutes per game, and starts 57% of the time on the offensive side of the ice, with a plus-50 Corsi to show for it.

Center

Detroit will pay Henrik Zetterberg, Pavel Datsyuk, Riley Sheahan, and Joakim Andersson to play center tonight.

Zetterberg starts 60% of the time on the offensive end, and has earned a plus-100 Corsi rating against the toughest competition the Wings face. A 5’11", 197 lb., 12-year veteran from Sweden, he has spent his entire NHL career with the Wings. He’s a great playmaker and is even better under pressure. He’s great with the puck, leading the team with 30 assists and 44 points, but is prone to scoring slumps. He wins 53% of the time in the face-off dot.

Datsyuk, like most of the team, is 5’11". He’s a 13-year-veteran from Sverdlovsk, USSR, drafted by Detroit in the sixth round back in 1998. In 36 games thus far, he’s scored 15 goals and 20 assists to rank third on the team with 35 points in 19:08 per game. He’s patient and a good setup man - and he can stickhandle in an airplane bathroom. He’s also aces on the defensive side of the ice - and has three Selke Trophy’s to show for it. This is the guy you have to look out for. Datsyuk has earned a plus-160 Corsi while starting 59% of the time in the offensive zone.

Sheahan is in his fourth NHL season, and has played in each of Detroit’s 47 contests this far. He has eight goals and 13 assists in 15 minutes average so far, with a plus-140 Corsi in 61% positive zone starts. Sheahan has sound offensive instincts and shows an ability to mature into a shutdown defenseman, but he still lacks some discipline. He’s  a 6’2", 212 lb. first round pick from Ontario.

Andersson is a 6’2", 206 lb. winger from Sweden, and Detroit’s third round pick in 2007. Now in his fourth season, he’s scored one goal with four assists in 35 games. He’s sound defensively, but he’s not physical enough, considering his size. He’s not a natural goal scorer. He starts just 35% of the time in the offensive zone, and has a corresponding minus-60 Corsi rating.

Right Wing

Darren Helm, Drew Miller, and Teemu Pulkkinen will man the right wing position for the Red Wings tonight.

Helm has eight goals and 12 assists in 47 games for Detroit this season. He plays 14:31 per game, and has bruised the opposition to the tune of 69 hits on the year. He wins a team-best 57.4% of his faceoffs, and has earned a plus-150 Corsi against tough competition with 60% positive zone starts. A 5’11", 192 lb. Winnipeg native, he was a fifth round pick of the Red Wings in 2005. He’s an extremely hard worker with a good all-around two-way game, and he’s versatile enough to play any of the three forward positions.

Miller has 72 hits and leads the offensive corps with 45 blocked shots. 6’2" and 178 lbs., he’s a seven-year veteran originally drafted by the Anaheim Ducks in the sixth round of the 2003 draft. The Wings got him off waivers from the Tampa Bay Lightning back in 2009. He has an excellent work ethic and good defensive instincts. He’s a good penalty killer, but needs to get stronger (he’s already 30) to break into a "top six" talent. He’s played in all 47 games, and has scored two goals with six assists thus far. He starts 35% of the time in the offensive zone, and has racked up a minus-65 Corsi rating against tough competition.

Pulkkinen is a 5’11", 185 lb. former fourth round pick in 2010. He played three games last season, and is skating this season for only the seventh time. He’s picked up one goal in his career so far, and has been playing 11 minutes per game. He has good offensive ability, and is better with the puck than without. He’s also good on defense, and can play either wing. On the downside, he still doesn’t bring a consistent work ethic night-in and night-out. In his limited time with the parent club, he has posted a plus-30 Corsi rating with 55% zone starts against easy competition.

Defensemen

Jonathan Ericsson and Niklas Kronwall will pair up as the primary blueliners, and Kyle Quincey and Dan DeKeyser will pick up the lion’s share of what’s left. Brendan Smith and Xavier Ouellet will be happy to see the ice here and there.

Ericsson and Kronwall pair up for the toughest competition on the ice, Kronwall for around 24 minutes per game - and he has five goals and a defensive corps best 22 assists. Ericsson has scored twice with eight helpers. The two are around plus-50 Corsi with 52% offensive zone starts. Kronwall, 6' and 190 lbs., will hit anyone despite his average size. He's a sound defensive skater with a lot of offensive upside, specializing on the power play. He has racked up 49 hits and 65 blocks so far. Ericsson is 6'4", 221 lbs, and has good skating ability. He plays 20 minutes per game and is a solid shutdown type defenseman. Despite his size, he's not overly physical. He has dished out 65 hits with 32 blocked shots.

Quincey and DeKeyser face average competition, start around 52% of the time in the offensive zone, and are around plus-90 Corsi in 20 minutes per game. Quincey is a 6'2", 207 lb. Ontario native, originally drafted by the Wings in the fourth round of the 2003 draft. He has three goals and nine assists so far, with 67 hits and 44 blocked shots. He skates well north-south, and east-west for that matter. He's a good puck mover who does well to not get too tricky with it, but he's still prone to stupid mistakes, and can be exploited for breakaways due to overcommitment in the offensive zone. DeKeyser is 6'3", 190 lbs, and moves the puck well. He can excel in all areas of the game, but doesn't possess a very good shot from the point. He has two goals and 17 assists with 41 hits and 56 blocks to his credit.

Smith and Ouellet have drawn the easiest competition, starting 60% of the time in the offensive end, and have earned around plus-100 Corsi. They usually play around 17 minutes per game. Smith has two goals and six assists with 31 hits and 36 blocks in 42 games, and Ouellet has two markers and one assist in 19. Ouellet is a good puck mover and a power play specialist. He's undersized at 6'1", 190 lbs., but at just 21 years of age still has some time to grow into his frame. He has an accurate point shot but needs some work on movement without the biscuit. Smith is 6'2", 198 lbs. He skates well with and without the puck, owns an aggressive nature and a good frame, but doesn't hit enough.

Goalie

Petr Mrazek is penciled in as the probable starter. He's in his third season with the Wings, and has earned a spot as the default number two netminder behind Jimmy Howard (torn groin). Mrazek is 9-3-1 this year, with a .914 save percentage and a 2.44 goals against average. He has never faced the Panthers. He's proven to be able to make great saves even when completely out of position, and is good when the pressure is on. The 6'1", 184 lb. native of Czechoslovakia was a fifth round pick of the Red Wings back in 2010.

Check back here for the GameThread prior to the match. Faceoff is at 7:30.