The Detroit Red Wings are looking at Thursday’s game against the Philadelphia Flyers as a critical contest and no reinforcements are coming to help them play it.
Patrick Kane (lower body injury) skated Wednesday for the first time in 10 days, but he hasn’t been cleared for contact. Defenseman Ben Chiarot (upper body) isn’t yet close.
“(Kane) skated pre-practice, participated in the warm-up drill and then no contact,” Lalonde said. “So I think a positive step for him. Get a better feel on how he feels today. Kind of in that gray area. Does it make sense for that last game or two before the break or give him the eight days after the break. So, we’ll have a better feel when we see how his body felt after today.”
Chiarot May Not Play Until After Break
Chiarot left Friday’s road game against Carolina because of an injury that has been bothering him for a while. He has not practiced.
“It’s becoming more and more likely probably post-break,” Lalonde said. “Might just give him the time to heal completely. Still potential for one of the last two games. Same gray area as Patty, whether it makes sense to play him in the last game or two or take full advantage of the time off we’ll have from the All-Star break.”
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After playing Philadelphia, the Red Wings play Vegas Saturday and then Ottawa Wednesday. They are then off for 10 days for the All-Star and annual team break.
Kane’s loss impacts the team’s power play, although the Red Wings did score three power play goals Tuesday during a 5-4 loss to the Dallas Stars. Chiarot, meanwhile, is one of the team’s top penalty-killers.
“It’s a credit to Ben Chiarot, how much we’ve missed him over two games, that’s where his game was at,” Lalonde said. “The way he was playing, that was probably one injury we wanted to try to avoid. It’s on the rest of our group to pick up their game.”
J.T. Compher is fighting the flu bug (day to day), but he’s expected to play against the Flyers.
Lyon vs. Flyers
This game is important because the Red Wings don’t want to lose the momentum achieved by an 8-2-1 run. If they lose to Philadelphia, they are 1-3 in their last four games. The Flyers shut out the Red Wings 1-0 on Dec. 16 in Philadelphia and then lost to the Red Wings 7-6 in a shootout in Detroit six days later.
Alex Lyon was pulled after two periods in the loss to Dallas, but he will get the start in goal for Detroit against the Flyers. Lalonde’s goalie decision wasn’t hard.
“The run he’s had, not his best last night,” Lalonde said. “Probably a little on our team play in the second, but he needed a breather in the third. Very comfortable going back with him.”
Lalonde also plans to keep Dylan Larkin with DeBrincat.
“We’ll start like that,” Lalonde said. “I liked it at the end (of Dallas game). Sometimes it’s matchups. Watching that game back, very disappointed we kind of let that game get away from us in the second but there’s some makeup of teams if they’re three of four lines deep, ability to score or create offense and are heavy, it creates some issues for us matchup-wise. I got back to that Tampa game. Everybody says why do you have so much success against Tampa. It’s a matchup thing, a depth thing.”