Exhibition finale projects to be dress rehearsal for Detroit Red Wings
Detroit Red Wings Ben Chiarot and Derek Lalonde, Oct. 6, 2023 in Detroit.
Helene St. James
After experimenting for seven games, the Detroit Red Wings are ready to use their last exhibition outing as a dress rehearsal for next week’s regular-season opener.
The Wings host the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday at Little Caesars Arena, taking a 4-2-1 preseason record into the evening. The one overtime loss came Thursday when the Wings faced an NHL veteran-heavy lineup in Toronto; on Saturday, it’s likely that the Leafs won’t bring many regulars — but the Wings’ lineup projects to be loaded, as head coach Derek Lalonde described the game as a “dry run” for the opener on Oct. 12.
“You can get your lines together, get everyone out there with who they’re going to play with,” veteran defenseman Ben Chiarot said. “It’s like of like a dress rehearsal for us.”
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Goaltender Ville Husso is earmarked to play the full game. He has appeared in two preseason games, logging just short of 61 minutes of work and posting a 1.97 goals-against average and .933 save percentage.
Chiarot was paired with Jeff Petry during Friday’s practice, and Moritz Seider with Jake Walman. Shayne Gostisbehere skated with a rotation of Olli Määttä and Justin Holl. Lalonde said he hadn’t decided which defenseman would sit.
Up front, the lines had Dylan Larkin with Alex DeBrincat and Michael Rasmussen, J.T. Compher with Lucas Raymond and Daivd Perron (a line that features all right-handed shots); Andrew Copp with Klim Kostin and Robby Fabbri; and Joe Veleno with Daniel Sprong and Christian Fischer.
Lalonde, as he has stated the past two weeks, “isn’t married” to those combinations. He has used a variety of combinations throughout the past two weeks.
“All exhibition games have had some value to them,” Lalonde said. “Certainly not ideal to play three games in a row, all on the road, back-to-back-to-back, it’s a little bit of a grind. But at the same time, it actually set up Saturday pretty well. Get a practice day, play Saturday, day off Sunday, and then we have three days to get prepared for New Jersey.”
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