The Rangers are in Detroit today looking to beat a pretty bad team, something they’ve been struggling to do lately. The Wings are going to miss the playoffs after about 400 years in a row of making them. They have some pretty solid young talent up front, and it’s only recently that they’ve been starting to play more over the veterans. On the blue line, they are almost as bad as the Rangers, but not quite totally bad.
As for the Rangers, well we know where they stand at this point.
Disclaimer: I’m in New Orleans, and wrote this before I flew out Thursday. I did the best I could to predict the lineups. Considering this was done a few days in advance, it’s likely off.
Red Wings Systems
For those that don’t follow Prashanth Iyer, you should. He does a great job breaking down everything Detroit.
The Wings run a 1-2-2 forecheck, which is fairly standard. But Blashill is very aggressive, and encourages the first defenseman to get involved at the blue line, instead of the red line. That means more pressure on the Rangers blue liners to make proper decisions with the puck. The Rangers deploy a similar forecheck, but are less aggressive with their defensemen, preferring to pressure at the red line, instead of the blue line. The risk of Blashill’s scheme is that quick passing can lead to odd-man rushes with that aggressive defenseman.
In the defensive zone, the Wings play a hybrid overload/low zone collapse. They overload the strong side, much like the Rangers. When the puck gets below the goal line, the forwards collapse into low zone coverage. That’s where the Rangers differ, as they switch to man coverage when the puck gets below the goal line. Although it was admittedly hard to see what kind of scheme the Rangers ran early in the year, they’ve been significantly better at their switches lately.
The Wings run a variety of breakouts, all detailed here. This is common for a lot of teams, and the way Prashanth breaks it down is very relevant, as the Rangers play a 1-2-2 forecheck. The Rangers have had a strong forecheck the last few games, so expect them to pressure those first two passes on the breakouts. For more breakout plays, see this post from Suit.
On special teams, the Wings run a 1-3-1 powerplay. This has been standard for multiple teams since the Bolts started using it a few years ago. The Wings don’t have that one sniper they try to feed, so they rely on quick passes to breakdown the penalty kill. Considering how amazing the Rangers’ PK has been, the best bet is to stay out of the box.
On the PK, the Wings are one of the few teams that don’t run some form of hybrid system.They run a straight wedge+1, which is similar to the diamond force the Rangers use. Both have a “roamer” designed to force the play, while the remaining three defenders take out the high percentage shots. The difference is that the Wings will only use their forwards as the “+1” whereas the Rangers will rotate out based on puck location, including defensemen. The wedge is simpler to execute and more conservative, but the diamond force creates more turnovers.
For more on these systems, check out our Hockey Systems page.
Red Wings Lines
Danny Dekeyser-Mike Green
Xavier Oullet-Nick Jensen
Jonathan Ericsson-Alexey Marchenko
Jimmy Howard gets the start.
Henrik Lundqvist gets the start.
Crazy Prediction: A shutout for Hank.
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