We’re nearly there. Now on the final stretch of the games, the Red Wings will embark on the first of four games over four days to conclude the preseason. To kick off the four game run, Detroit is in Pittsburgh to face the Penguins, who the Wings defeated early in the preseason by a score of 4-3.

Whose in?

If we’re being honest here, a whole lot of meh. Taro Hirose joins Valtteri Filppula and Adam Erne on the top-line, which may ne the most exciting player combination listed.

Jonathan Bernier gets the start, but we’ll almost surely see Larsson sub in at some point (More on that later). Moritz Seider is also in, so he’ll draw a lot of attention.

For the Penguins, no official lineup sheet has been released. However, Matt Murray will be starting for them.

Dan Bylsma behind the bench

Tonight’s match-up will be a little bit different for the players. Jeff Blashill will be in the press-box watching from above, mentioning they have an early flight schedule for tomorrow. In his absence, assistant coach Dan Bylsma will take over as bench boss, being joined by members of the Grand Rapids Griffins staff.

With a good chunk of veterans slated to play tonight, this gives Bylsma a good opportunity to set the tone early with them, prior to the regular season. Getting a feel for the game management and such, this will be a good warm-up for “Disco Dan”, as Blashill referred to him earlier today.

Adam Erne is a beast

One of the surprise moves of the offseason, the Adam Erne trade caught many off guard. But only at the cost of a mere fourth round pick, general manager Steve Yzerman couldn’t have said yes sooner, when inquiring about his former player from Tampa Bay.

The initial reaction from Tampa Bay fans was harsh, with many feeling they handed away a quality middle-6 winger. Through the first couple games of preseason, we’re seeing why they were so upset. Erne is a beast. Flat-out.

Now getting the opportunity to play on the first line for tonight’s contest, it seems as though the coaching staff has taken a strong liking to him. With many speculating who will play opposite of Andreas Athanasiou on the second line to start the season, I wouldn’t be surprised if it was Erne.

Filip Larsson’s workload

As mentioned before, Berner will get the start tonight, with Larsson presumably coming in during the half way point of the game. Larsson hasn’t seen much action in the exhibition period, and that may be in part due to injuries.

I’m interested to see how he performs tonight. Playing his first pro season with Grand Rapids this year, he’ll be battling Calvin Pickard for the starting job.