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WGD: GAME 28: RED WINGS VS. JETS

The Detroit Red Wings come into Tuesday’s meeting on a seven-game losing streak (0-4-3) and on the heels of a 10-1 ass whooping at the hands of the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday.

To make matters worse, the Winnipeg Jets, who are tied for 1st in the NHL with 38 points (17-6-4) are in town having won five of their last seven games while averaging 3.85 goals for per game during that span.

The Jets were a forgotten team this offseason but have had a great first quarter-plus thanks to a high-powered offence and great goaltending. Detroit is in for a dog fight against a heavy Jets team and are in great danger of seeing their losing streak extending to eight games.

Let’s see how these two teams stack up:

RECORD 10-2-5 (5TH IN ATL) 17-6-4 (1ST IN CEN)
GOALS FOR 2.67 GF/PG (27TH) 3.44 GF/PG (5TH)
GOALS AGAINST 3.30 GA/PG (27TH) 2.63 GA/PG (5TH)
POWER PLAY 22.9% (6TH) 27.4% (2ND)
PENALTY KILL 81.9% (11TH) 79.4% (18TH)
CORSIFOR% 49.64 CF% (17TH) 48.78 CF% (21ST)

THE RED WINGS

Detroit Red Wings lines via DailyFaceoff

The Red Wings made some changes to their lines and pairings at Monday’s practice, which isn’t surprising after losing 10-1. However, they did make one change to their roster yesterday, trading Scott Wilson to the Buffalo Sabres for a 2019 fifth round pick.

TRADE: Red Wings have dealt Scott Wilson to Buffalo

With Wilson gone, David Booth will draw into the lineup tonight and someone is expected to be recalled from Grand Rapids (AHL) on Wednesday.

During the Red Wings’ seven-game losing skid, Justin Abdelkader has led the team with five points (1G / 4A) and will skate on the top line with Henrik Zetterberg and Gustav Nyquist tonight. Nyquist has been held without a goal in his last eight games while Zetterberg is goalless in the last 20 games.

While much of the team is struggling offensively, Tomas Tatar has actually picked up his goal scoring recently. Tatar has matched his goal total from the first 19 games with four goals in his last eight contests.

THE JETS

Winnipeg Jets lines via DailyFaceoff

In order to be tied at the top of the NHL standings you need to have good offence and that’s what the Jets bring to the table night in and night out. They have one of the best top-6s in the league and it is still relatively young. Through the early part of the season you have heard a lot about Steven Stamkos, Nikita Kucherov and Vladimir Tarasenko but you probably haven’t heard a whole lot about Blake Wheeler or Mark Scheifele.

Wheeler continues to be one of the most underrated players in the NHL and is comes into tonight after being named the First Star in the NHL last week—he had 10 points (2G / 8A) in four games.

Blake Wheeler Named NHL First Star of the Week

Wheeler is now first in the NHL in assists (28) and fourth in points (35). His linemate Scheifele is just one point behind him with 34 (14G / 20A) in 27 games—a 103-point pace, which would easily top his career-high of 82 points (32G / 50A) he set a season ago.

This will be a big game for four of the Jets because this team has a lot of ties to the State of Michigan. Kyle Connor (Shelby Twp., MI), Andrew Copp (Ann Arbor, MI), Jacob Trouba (Rochester, MI) and Connor Hellebuyck (Commerce, MI) are all from Michigan and Connor, Copp and Trouba all attended the University of Michigan. You have to think there will be a lot of families and friends in attendance for their first game at the brand new Little Caesars Arena.

BETWEEN THE PIPES

Jimmy Howard will get back in net for the Red Wings tonight. Howard was dreadful in relief of Petr Mrazek on Saturday, surrendering five goals on just nine shots in the loss. Howie had a really nice start to the season, picking up where he left off during an injury riddled 2016-17 season, but has since fallen off. Howard has an ugly 4.87 GAA and .842 SV% in his last seven appearances and has had virtually no success in his career against the Jets. The 33-year-old has gone 1-4-2 with a 3.59 GAA and .891 SV% in eight career games against Winnipeg.

Hellebuyck will get the starting nod back in his home state. Hellebuyck was expected to split time with veteran Steve Mason, who was signed this offseason, but Mason faltered early on and Hellebuyck has been outstanding. The young netminder has gone 15-2-3 with a 2.31 GAA, .925 SV% and one shutout this season and has not lost in regulation in three career starts vs. Detroit.

HOW TO WATCH

Puck-drop is at 7:30 at Little Caesars Arena. You can watch the game on Fox Sports Detroit in the United States or TSN3 in Canada.

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