The Red Wings host the NHL’s best team tonight minus their top defensive pairing. Niklas Kronwall and Jonathan Ericsson are both out as the San Jose Sharks come to town.
Kronwall skated this morning and is expected to return on Wednesday against Ottawa, as he’s experiencing no ill effects from the mild concussion suffered in Colorado on Thursday.
Ericsson is out for personal reasons as his wife or girlfriend (depending on who’s reporting, though one would assume they’re the same woman) gave birth to a daughter this afternoon.
With both out, Brendan Smith remains in the Detroit lineup and will be joined by call-up Xavier Ouellet, who will make his NHL debut.
There are also changes up front, as Luke Glendening has been returned to the Grand Rapids Griffins. Justin Abdelkader is back with Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk, Stephen Weiss centers Daniel Cleary and Tomas Tatar, Johan Franzen centers Todd Bertuzzi and Daniel Alfredsson, and Joakim Andersson centers Drew Miller and Jordin Tootoo. Mikael Samuelsson will be the healthy scratch.
Stupid stat of the day: The Red Wings are a perfect 3-0 all-time against teams from California on October 21. With tonight’s game, they will have played each of the league’s California-based teams exactly once.
Game time is 7:30 on FSD.