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WGD: GAME 36: RED WINGS @ DEVILS

Prior to the Christmas break the Red Wings lost 3-1 in Boston and have now lost five of their last seven games (2-3-2).

Dating back to November 18th, the Red Wings are 3-7-5 (11 points) which ties them for third worst in the NHL over that span. Overall on the season they sit 28th in the NHL at 13-15-7 (33 points) ahead of only the Senators, Sabres and Coyotes.

While it’s difficult to sit and watch the Red Wings lose 12 of 15 games, we all knew this was going to be a rebuilding experience and the more they lose the more likely they are to get Rasmus Dahlin.

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Check out this scouting report from Elite Prospects. How can you not pray we get this kid?

Dahlin is a smart two-way defenseman who can play in any situation. He is a terrific skater and stick handler who can rush the puck, or join the attack in a hurry. Impressive agility makes him a good one-on-one defender. He has fine passing ability, and altough not a big-time bomber, he has an accurate shot from the point. Not one to shy away from the physical game, Dahlin is an accomplished open-ice hitter. A young player, he must learn when to make the simpler play. Adding more weight should help him in board battles and around the crease.

Let’s take a look at tonight’s lineups and starting goalie matchup:

THE RED WINGS

Detroit Red Wings lines via DailyFaceoff

It looks like the Red Wings are going to roll with the same lineup as in Boston, which means Anthony Mantha on the top line, Justin Abdelkader on the Dylan Larkin line, Tyler Bertuzzi with Frans Nielsen and Andreas Athansiou buried on the fourth line.

A reason why the Red Wings are struggling dating back to mid-November is because they’re averaging just 2.40 goals for and 3.93 goals against per game during that 15-game stretch. Goaltending hasn’t been great at times, but they aren’t scoring enough.

In that 15-game span, Tomas Tatar leads the Red Wings in goals with just five. Only six players have three-plus (Nyquist, Green, Nielsen, Mantha and Booth). Henrik Zetterberg and Dylan Larkin lead the way in points with 12 and 10 respectively.

THE DEVILS

New Jersey Devils lines via DailyFaceoff

The Devils have surprised a lot of people this season. They are led by Taylor Hall who has recorded 12 goals and 22 assists (34 points) in 33 games. He has spent the vast majority of his time on a line with this summer’s No.1 overall pick, Nico Hischier. The duo has a 48.66 CorsiFor% together and have actually been outscored at even-strength (21 to 20) but remain the Devils most dangerous line. Hischier has gone cold recently, picking up now assist in his last eight games, but has totalled 21 points (5G / 16A) in 35 games as an 18-year-old.

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One of the feel good stories of the season is Brian Boyle, who is playing with chronic myeloid leukaemia and having a career-year. He has been especially hot as of late, scoring six goals with four assists (10 points) in his last eight games.

BETWEEN THE PIPES

Jimmy Howard vs. Cory Schneider is the expected goaltending matchup.

Howard gave up two goals on 25 shots in last Saturday’s game vs. the Bruins. He has lost five of his last six tarts while posting a 2.83 GAA and .895 SV% and has just two wins in his last 14 appearances. After an incredible start to the season, Howie has come back to earth over the last month and a half.

Schneider comes in red-hot. The Devils netminder stopped 39 of 40 shots in a win over the Blackhawks before the break and has won four in a row while posting a 2.20 GAA and .926 SV%. Schneider has also gone 10-5-2 on home ice.

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HOW TO WATCH

Puck-drop between the Red Wings and Devils is at 7:00 p.m. ET at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey. It can be seen on nationally on either FoxSports-Detroit or MSG-PLUS.

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.

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