Tuesday night the Detroit Red Wings play in Philadelphia against the Flyers in a virtual must win game as the chase for the final playoff spot in the East comes down to the wire. Detroit currently holds the last wild card spot over Philadelphia by three points, but the Flyers have two games in hand on the Red Wings.
When the two teams face off Tuesday, the Red Wings will have a new face in the lineup. That face belongs to the Red Wings’ 2013 first round pick Anthony Mantha. The game will be Mantha’s long awaited NHL debut.
“I’m really excited,” Mantha told the Detroit Free Press. “I can’t wait to jump on the ice. I’m as ready as ever right now. I’ve got a year and a half experience in the American league. I couldn’t wait to play my first game. I’m ready to go.”
Mantha will be given an opportunity very early on to showcase what he has to offer in the NHL as he will debut on a line with Pavel Datsyuk and Tomas Tatar. It’s also been reported that Mantha will see some time on the power play with the Red Wings.
Mantha was called out by executives after underperforming his first season in the AHL with Grand Rapids. The criticism was slightly over the top, as it was Mantha’s first season of professional hockey and he was coming off of a broken leg.
Mantha’s second season in the AHL has seen more success. Through 56 games with the Griffins, Mantha has 21 goals and 45 points, which both rank third on the team and are an improvement on his numbers in 62 games a season ago.