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WGD: GAME 3: EVERYTHING IS BIGGER IN TEXAS

The Red Wings opened the season with a victory in their debut at Little Caesars Arena and promptly went on the road this weekend and took care of the Ottawa Senators.

Detroit’s four-game road-trip continues tonight in Dallas, where they will meet a Stars team that has started the season 0-2-0. The Red Wings played well in Ottawa, but were carried by a 37-save performance from Jimmy Howard. Howard has made 37 saves in each of his first two starts this season and he now holds a 1.07 GAA, .968 SV% and one shutout in his last six October appearances dating back to last season.

Their opponent is still looking for their first win of the season, but it’s not because they aren’t playing well. Through their first two games they have a 59.74 CorsiFor%, but they’ve been stymied by Marc-Andre Fleury (45 saves) and Jake Allen (38 saves).

It’s still extremeeeeely early but the Red Wings are off to a nice start and they will look to extend their winning streak to three tonight. Let’s take a look at the projected lineups:


THE RED WINGS

Detroit Red Wings lines via DailyFaceoff

LEFT WING CENTER RIGHT WING
Tomas Tatar
TOMAS TATAR
Henrik Zetterberg
HENRIK ZETTERBERG
Gustav Nyquist
GUSTAV NYQUIST
Anthony Mantha
ANTHONY MANTHA
Dylan Larkin
DYLAN LARKIN
Martin Frk
MARTIN FRK
Justin Abdelkader
JUSTIN ABDELKADER
Frans Nielsen
FRANS NIELSEN
Darren Helm
DARREN HELM
Luke Witkowski
LUKE WITKOWSKI
Luke Glendening
LUKE GLENDENING
Riley Sheahan
RILEY SHEAHAN
DEFENSIVE PAIRINGS
Dan DeKeyser
DAN DEKEYSER
Trevor Daley
TREVOR DALEY
Jonathan Ericsson
JONATHAN ERICSSON
Mike Green
MIKE GREEN
Xavier Ouellet
XAVIER OUELLET
Nick Jensen
NICK JENSEN

Update: Witkowski will actually remain in the lineup, so Booth is a healthy scratch for the second straight game. Same lineup as in Ottawa.


Unsurprisingly the Red Wings line combos are staying strong after win, however look for David Booth to draw back into the lineup for Luke Witkowski. The Stars try to play a fast game, but they are also the biggest team in the NHL this season.

The Anthony ManthaDylan LarkinMartin Frk line have been dominant in the early part of the season and have been the Red Wings’ best line by far. They’ve actually seen just 14:39 Even-Strength TOI through two games (third among DET lines) and are carrying an impressive 65.0 CF% and 16.09 relative CorsiFor%, showing just how much better they’ve been than the other Detroit trios. Many didn’t expect Frk to have a lot of even-strength success, but he has an EVS goal in each of the first two games.

For some reason Jonathan Ericsson is back with Mike Green and the duo has been absolutely shredded in their brief time together this season. They hold a 34.62 CF% in 7:38 EVS TOI together—a small sample size obviously—but Green has looked better with Xavier Ouellet on his left-side. They’ve carried a 54.17 CF% in 23:01, but it looks like Jeff Blashill will have Green carry a massive Swedish anchor around the ice tonight in Dallas.

Speaking of the blueline and big Swedish anchors, Niklas Kronwall said he expected to make his season debut later this week—either in Arizona (Thursday) or Vegas (Friday).

THE STARS

Dallas Stars lines via DailyFaceoff

LEFT WING CENTER RIGHT WING
Jamie Benn
JAMIE BENN
Tyler Seguin
TYLER SEGUIN
Alexander Radulov
ALEXANDER RADULOV
Remi Elie
REMI ELIE 
Jason Spezza
JASON SPEZZA
Brett Ritchie
BRETT RITCHIE
Mattias Janmark
MATTIAS JANMARK 
Martin Hanzal
MARTIN HANZAL
Devin Shore
DEVIN SHORE
Antoine Roussel
ANTOINE ROUSSEL
Radek Faksa
RADEK FAKSA
Tyler Pitlick
TYLER PITLICK
 Update: The Stars will have Hanzal in the lineup tonight. Remi Elie was recalled and will draw in for Cracknell on the second line. Hamhuis is out, so Honka will make his season debut

The Stars might have the best first line in the NHL with Jamie BennTyler SeguinAlexander Radulov. The trio has a 59.52 CF% early on, but has yet to score an even-strength goal. The Red Wings will obviously have to slow this line down if they’re going to have any success tonight, but that’s easier said than done. Seguin has fired an ridiculous 19 shots on goal in his first two contests—Benn is second in that category with nine.

Their second line has a lot of talent as well, led by veteran Jason Spezza. Now 34-years-old, Spezza is on the wrong side of the age battle, but can still post solid numbers. Getting Mattias Janmark is big for the Stars. Janmark missed all last season after undergoing knee surgery on September and they’re hoping that Brett Ritchie will continue to take steps forward. Ritchie is coming off of a career-year, scoring 16 goals with eight assists (24 points). He has strong possession numbers in his young career, so better days lie ahead if they ever give him increased minutes.

The Stars have some injury concerns coming into tonight. Martin Hanzal, who the Stars signed this offseason, is dealing with a lower-body injury but is expected to suit up tonight. However, defensman Dan Hamhuis seems less likely to play because of a groin concern. If he can’t play, look for Julius Honka to suit up for his first game of the season.

BETWEEN THE PIPES

Shockingly, it looks like Petr Mrazek will get his first start of the season. Despite Howard being in the starter’s crease a yesterday’s practice, Mrazek was the first one off the ice at the morning skate, so look for him to get the net tonight. This is a strange decision to say the least. Howard has been fantastic so far and the Red Wings have a back-to-back on Thursday/Friday, so not sure why they would go with Mrazek in this spot.

One of their other offseason signings, Ben Bishop, is expected to get the call for Dallas. Bishop stopped all 19 shots he faced in the season opener vs. Vegas before being removed from the game because of a concussion. He was cleared to play the following night but Ken Hitchcock rolled with Kari Lehtonen. Look for Bishop tonight and his numbers vs. Detroit simply aren’t fair. In 17 career meetings, the 6-foot-6 netminder is 11-4-0 with a 1.92 GAA and .928 SV%.

HOW TO WATCH

Puck-drop is at 8:30 p.m. ET and you can catch the game on Fox Sports Detroit where Ken and Mickey will have the call. If you can’t watch the game, be sure to catch it on 97.1 FM The Ticket.

Also, make sure to follow us on Twitter; we’ll have live tweets, GIFS, and all the fun stuff that a topical social media platform has.


*all advanced stats via corsica.hockey*