Michael Rasmussen In Tyler Bertuzzi out for the Detroit Red Wings

DETROIT, MI - NOVEMBER 28: Detroit Red Wings forward Michael Rasmussen (27) skates during a regular season NHL hockey game between the St. Louis Blues and the Detroit Red Wings on November 28, 2018, at Little Caesars Arena in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Scott Grau/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
DETROIT, MI - NOVEMBER 28: Detroit Red Wings forward Michael Rasmussen (27) skates during a regular season NHL hockey game between the St. Louis Blues and the Detroit Red Wings on November 28, 2018, at Little Caesars Arena in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Scott Grau/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images) /

The Detroit Red Wings are finally back at it tonight after four days off when they host the Vegas Golden Knights inside the fabulous home they call Little Caesars Arena.

The Detroit Red Wings are in the midst of a three-game win streak that started just before their bye week which was extended to nine days in a row off because it landed during the All-Star break.  The Wings beat the Oilers in Edmonton and then all, but Jimmy Howard had the long break of rest.

When the Wings finally did return to action, they beat the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Ottawa Senators in back to back game before getting another four day extended break.  This four-day break comes at an excellent time for one Dylan Larkin.

Larkin injured himself in the overtime win against the Leafs.  He was backchecking vigorously at the end of a shift when he collapsed holding his side.  He ended up staying on the ice for an additional 30 seconds or so and even recorded a shot on goal.  When he did finally make it over for a line change, he immediately exited the ice surface and headed right down the tunnel to the Wings locker room.

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Larkin would miss the Sens matchup, but the Wings were able to fend them off 2-0 as Jonathan Bernier recorded his first shutout of the season.  Not just his but it would be the teams first of the season as well.

Dylan Larkin is considered a game-time decision tonight but all signs point to “go” for him.  He skated in his regular spot on the top line at practice yesterday.  Michael Rasmussen will return to the Detroit Red Wings lineup tonight after completing a three-game conditioning stint with the Grand Rapids Griffins where he was able to score a pair of goals.  The conditioning stint allows Rasmussen to re-enter the Wings lineup at full speed.

At practice, Jeff Blashill had Abdelkader on the top line along with Larkin and Nyquist.  I think if Larkin plays they should put Athanasiou there and insert Rasmussen with Glendening and Helm leaving Abdelkader to play with Ehn and de La Rose on the fourth unit.

We all know this won’t be the case, it will either be Abdelkader on the top line and AA on the third unit or vice versa leaving Rasmussen skating with the fourth line.  It’s hard for him to grow offensively on the fourth line playing with grinding type players rather than more skilled guys on preferably one of the top lines while Bertuzzi continues to be sidelined.

Speaking of Bertuzzi, he is not expected to be back until next week at the earliest.  He was injured in Edmonton before the break.  The Detroit Red Wings are calling it an “upper-body” injury, but it looked like he took a hit to the head.  I can’t confirm this, so it’s only speculation, but one would think it’s a head or neck injury.

The Vegas Golden Knights are having another spectacular season, not quite as good as last year but still stellar in their second year of existence. Overall they are currently ranked third in the Pacific division with a record of 30-21-4.

Former Red Wings foe from back in his Pittsburgh Penguins days, Marc-Andre Fleury will man the cage tonight.  He’s having another tremendous season owning a season record of 28-15-4.  His 2.47 goals against average and .911 save percentage is nothing to shake a stick at either.  He’s the face of the young franchise, and he’s embraced it well.

The Golden Knights are doing it with goaltending and defense this season.  They are in the top five in all major defensive categories this season including; goals allowed per game, shots allowed per game, penalty kill success rate, and time in the box per game.  It’s pretty remarkable, but they don’t have a player even close to producing a point a game offensively this season.

I don’t want to call William Karlsson a one hit wonder because he’s having a decent season but nothing even close to what he did last year.  He’s got 16 goals, 17 assists totaling 33 points in 55 games.

The VGK leading scorer is Alex Tuch with 16 goals and 24 assists.  The VGK have a lot of players who’ve achieved 20 plus points thus far this season, nine to be exact.  Meaning they have three lines with the ability to score but are not scoring at the rate they did last season.

If you’ve happened to see any VGK home games, this will make complete sense.  Their home record this season is terrific.  The building is always jam-packed with energy and team always seems able to feed off of the crowds’ enthusiasm.  Their home record this season is 16-6-3.

It’s been a different story on the road.  They have a 14-15-1 road record.  The Detroit Red Wings who’ve been playing solid hockey of late have an opportunity to get a fourth win in a row if they can find a way to sustain pressure in the offensive zone and convert on a power-play opportunity or two.

The Detroit Red Wings projected lineup:

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

Thomas Vanek – Frans Nielsen (A) – Anthony Mantha

Andreas Athanasiou – Luke Glendening – Darren Helm

Christoffer Ehn – Jacob de La Rose – Michael Rasmussen

Niklas Kronwall (A) – Mike Green

Danny DeKeyser – Nick Jensen

Jonathan Ericsson – Dennis Cholowski

Jimmy Howard

Jonathan Bernier

Next. Bylsma not a lock to be next Head Coach. dark

Game Information:

Detroit Red Wings 21-25-7 vs. Vegas Golden Knights 30-21-4
Time: 7:30 PM EST
Location: Little Caesars Arena, Detroit, MI
TV:  Fox Sports Detroit, ATTSN Rocky Mountain, Fox Sports Go, NHL.TV, ESPN+
Radio: 97.1 The Ticket
Oddshark Odds fav: VGK -170