Detroit Red Wings have to deal with the William Nylander hype-train

TORONTO, ON - MARCH 24: William Nylander #29 of the Toronto Maple Leafs takes a faceoff against Frans Nielsen #51 of the Detroit Red Wings during the first period at the Air Canada Centre on March 24, 2018 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Mark Blinch/NHLI via Getty Images)
TORONTO, ON - MARCH 24: William Nylander #29 of the Toronto Maple Leafs takes a faceoff against Frans Nielsen #51 of the Detroit Red Wings during the first period at the Air Canada Centre on March 24, 2018 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Mark Blinch/NHLI via Getty Images) /

The Detroit Red Wings should be prepared to enter a hostile environment tonight.   The team rolls into what was formally known as The Air Canada Centre, now renamed Scotiabank Arena.

The Detroit Red Wings better be ready to take on a high flying Toronto Maple Leafs team that is going to have a little bit of extra jump tonight.  William Nylander, the son of Michael, will be in the Toronto lineup tonight after a drawn out lengthy holdout.

The forward sat out as a restricted free agent this summer as he looked for a long-term deal in free agency rather than a bridge deal.  To compare, Athanasiou and Mantha both signed two-year agreements this summer.  Nylander wanted the splash, and well he got it.

The signing deadline was mid-day December first.  If he hadn’t signed by then, he would be ineligible to play in the NHL this season.  If a deal were not agreed upon, Nylander again would be an (RFA) July first.  It was shaping up to be an exciting summer once again, but minutes before the signing deadline a deal was made.  The two parties involved took it to the wire before a 45 million dollar deal was reached.

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Needless to say, William joins an already offensive juggernaut, and Scotiabank Place will be loud tonight.  The crowd and players are expected to be full of energy tonight. A Toronto team that already ranks second in the NHL in scoring adds a 60 plus point guy to their lineup to most likely play on the third line.

The third line on some teams would be the top line.  I mean not many third lines have a back to back 30 goal scorer in Kadri, and a back to back 60 point achiever with Nylander.  The Toronto Maple Leafs rank 5th in the NHL in goals allowed to go with that high powered offense.  I wouldn’t expect anything less from a Mike Babcock led team.

Another stat that just jumps out at me is the penalty minutes.  Toronto just does not take penalties.  They average a league-best 5.6 penalty minutes per game.  The Detroit Red Wings, on the other hand, are 26th in the league averaging 9.9 PIM per game. I have a message for this Detroit Red Wings team tonight.  STAY OUT OF THE BOX.

The Detroit Red Wings will need to find a way to play sound defense without a couple of defensive defensemen. Daley and DeKeyser are both “minute eaters” on the Wings back-end.  They will both miss tonight’s game.  The Wings also need to limit the scoring chances and stay out of the box to have any chance tonight.  They can not afford to start slow either, the defense needs to be cautious not to get caught pinching into the offensive zone.

Detroit will need a heroic effort in goal from Bernier.  The former Leaf will be amped up to play in the building he once called his own.  I am a little shocked Jeff Blashill is not rolling with his better option in Jimmy Howard.  Is he protecting him from a potential blow-out game, so his trade stock doesn’t fall?  It is certainly not out of the question.

A few Leafs players along with Nylander to watch;

John Tavares is just an unbelievable talent.  The number one center signed a deal to come home to Toronto leaving the Islanders where he was the face of the franchise for many years.  He is Mike Babcock’s workhorse.  He is Bab’s Pavel Datsyuk, Henrik Zetterberg.  Tavares will be on the ice in every critical situation throughout the hockey game.  He has 31 points that include 17 goals this season with the Leafs.

Auston Matthews is just as advertised.  He is a pure scorer.  Matthews uses his quick release to blast his heavy shot past goaltenders.  Sometimes the puck comes outta the goal as fast as it goes in.  Matthews is the definition of a sniper; he has 15 goals and 23 points in 14 games this season. He is also underrated in his own end, skating as a plus 3.

Morgan Rielly has flourished into a number one defenseman in the NHL.  This 24-year-old defender is looking like he will be up for the James Norris Trophy handed out to the leagues top defenceman at the end of the season.  Reilly is a plus 15.  He also has 30 points in 28 games this season.

The Detroit Red Wings expected lineup;

Justin Abdelkader (A) – Dylan Larkin (A) – Gustav Nyquist

Andreas AthanasiouFrans NielsenThomas Vanek

Michael RasmussenLuke GlendeningJacob de La Rose

Christoffer EhnWade MeganMartin Frk

Dennis CholowskiMike Green

Niklas KronwallNick Jensen

Jonathan EricssonLuke Witkowski

Jonathan Bernier

Jimmy Howard

InjuriesDanny DeKeyser (hand), Trevor Daley (lower-body), Darren Helm (upper-body), Anthony Mantha (hand), Evgeny Svechnikov (knee)

Healthy Scratch; Brian Lashoff

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Game Information:

Detroit Red Wings 12-12-3 vs. Toronto Maple Leafs 20-8-0
Time: 7:00 EST
Location: Scotiabank Arena, Toronto, ON, CA
TV: Fox Sports Detroit, SN Ontario, Fox Sports Go, NHL.TV, ESPN+
Radio: 97.1 The Ticket
OddsShark Odds- Fav. Toronto -330
Head to Head last 10- Leafs 8-2-0