Lalonde Shuffles Lines in Detroit

To get more offense, Red Wings head coach Derek Lalonde has changed his lines. Some players are not contributing; a shakeup may be just what the doctor ordered. Recently, the Red Wings have been playing with only 12 healthy forwards, and after scoring only two goals against a depleted Toronto defense, a shakeup looked like a distinct possibility.

Top Line is Highly Skilled

Dominik Kubalik has been a terrific addition to the Larkin line.

The top line consists of Dominik Kubalik, Dylan Larkin, and Lucas Raymond. These players have had some success as a unit before, and Lalonde hopes that the magic returns on a regular basis to help kickstart the offense during 5-on-5 situations. Kubalik and Larkin lead the Red Wings in power-play points, and the hope is that this reunited trio will lead the offense in all situations. Going into tonight’s game against Vegas, the trio has scored 24 goals and picked up 61 points through 22 games.

Second Line is Changed

Perron from Larkin on a line change

The biggest alteration to the lineup is moving Michael Rasmussen to the second unit. Rasmussen has been working hard and deserves a chance to play with more skilled wingers. Rasmussen has been joined by Tyler Bertuzzi and David Perron. Perron has had a very good start to his career in a Red Wings uniform. Through the first 22 games, he now has 995 for his career. Perron has seven goals and 17 points. Bertuzzi has struggled since his return from a hand injury. In nine games this season, he has one goal and four points. He was hit by a puck in the hand again late in Wednesday’s game and, depending on the severity of the injury, may be out again. UPDATE: Bertuzzi was placed on IR on Thursday and will be out of the lineup indefinitely. Austin Czarnik was recalled from Grand Rapids (AHL).

Third Line Grinders

Sunny’s two goals!!!!

Andrew Copp has moved down to the third line and is not the center for Adam Erne and Oskar Sundqvist. The trio had an excellent first game, with Sundqvist picking up two third-period goals on Wednesday and Copp assisting on both. This line has the potential to add a third dimension to a roster that is much deeper than the one iced a season ago. Through 22 games, these three players have scored eight goals and 32 points, and if they keep playing the way they did in the third period on Wednesday, they will be a force for the enigmatic Detroit offense.

Fourth Line Remains Unchanged, For Now

Bergy again!!!

For Now, Joe Veleno will continue to center the fourth line with Jonatan Berggren and Pius Suter. Both Veleno and Berggren are waiver-exempt, and when injured players return to the lineup, they may be on the move to Grand Rapids (AHL). On Wednesday, Berggren opened the scoring for the Red Wings, assisted by Veleno. The trio is providing offense that is necessary for a team to compete against the strongest teams in the league. Through 22 games and only nine games for Berggren, they have already outscored the Copp line with nine goals and have 19 points.

Final Thoughts

The Red Wings have two difficult games this weekend. Detroit will host Vegas tonight at 7:00 PM ET and then travel to Columbus for a 6:00 PM ET game on Sunday. With Bertuzzi out, the lineup will likely be updated after the morning skate on Friday.

Chris Giles

Chris Giles is a former junior hockey player and coach from Canada. He has been a diehard Detroit Red Wings fan for almost 50 years. Chris is an avid golfer who has volunteered at several PGA and Canadian Open Championships throughout North America.

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