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WGD: GAME 33: RED WINGS @ ISLANDERS

The Red Wings played a pretty solid game last Friday, topping the Toronto Maple Leafs to end their lengthy home-stand.

Playing 13 of 15 games at Little Caesars Arena gave the Red Wings an opportunity to pick up a lot of points and put themselves in the playoff hunt, but the opposite happened. The Red Wings went 4-5-6, picking up 14 of a possible 30 points and averaging just 2.53 goals for per game and allowing 3.60.

The Red Wins sit at 12-13-7 (31 points) through 32 games. Luckily for them, the Atlantic Division is trash, so they’re just six points out of third in the division, but eight points back of the final Wild Card spot. Through 32 games last year, Detroit had 32 points (14-14-4).

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The Red Wings will kick-off a four-game road swing, but it’s really a three-game road trip with the fourth coming after the Christmas break. They will host a high-powered Islanders offence, but they come in having lost five of their last seven (2-4-1).

THE RED WINGS

Detroit Red Wings lines via DailyFaceoff

Good News: Andreas Athanasiou will move up the lineup to play on the second line with Dylan Larkin.

Bad News: Anthony Mantha will drop to the fourth line with David Booth and Martin Frk.

Jeff Blashill is obviously trying to send a message to Mantha that he wants more out of him, but if you want to win games this is not the way to do it. Mantha has gone pointless in his last six games, but he still leads the team in goals (12) and is second in points (22).

On a positive note, Henrik Zetterberg has turned it around offensively as of late, scoring one goal with four assists in his last five games. And their offseason signing, Trevor Daley, has one goal and two assists in his last three games after posting just one assist in his first 27 games in red and white.

THE ISLANDERS

New York Islanders lines via DailyFaceoff

The Islanders will be without Calvin de Haan, who is expected to be sidelined for an extended period of time with shoulder injury. Thomas Hickey was activated from IR on Monday but won’t play as veteran Dennis Seidenberg draws back in.

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The Islanders are led by an extremely talented top-6. John Tavares is widely regarded as one of the best centres in the NHL but Josh Bailey is an extremely underrated playmaker. The two of them come into tonight tied for fourth in the NHL with 40 points—19G / 21A for Tavares and 9G / 31A for Bailey. The third member of that line is Anders Lee, who is third in the NHL in goals (20) trailing only Alex Ovechkin and Nikita Kucherov.

Their second line is being anchored by rookie sensation Mathew Barzal, who is fourth on the team with 29 points (8G / 21A) and has shown great chemistry with first-year Islander Jordan Eberle, who has 13 goals and 10 assists (23 points) in 33 contests.

On the blueline, Nick Leddy is having a career year, collecting six goals and 18 assists (24 points) in 33 games—putting him on pace for 60 points (15G / 45A) which would blow away his previous career-high of 46.

BETWEEN THE PIPES

Jimmy Howard is expected to start for the Red Wings. Howard is coming off of a nice performance against Toronto, stopping 25 of 26 shots in the victory. Despite losing three of his last five starts, Howard has posted a 2.34 GAA and .911 SV%. He will need to be good against a very good Islanders team if Detroit is going to walk away with two points tonight.

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Thomas Greiss will go for the Islanders. Greiss allowed three goals on 29 shots in the Islanders win over the Kings on Saturday. Greiss has been terribly inconsistent this season but has yet to lose in regulation at the Barclays Center, going 5-0-2 with a 3.31 GAA and .893 SV%.

HOW TO WATCH

Puck-drop between the Red Wings and Islanders is at 7:00 p.m. ET at the Barclays Center and can be seen on Fox Sports Detroit and MSG+.

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