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WGD: GAME 45: RED WINGS vs. HURRICANES

A storm’s rolling into town as the Hurricanes fly into Little Caesars Arena for a Saturday night showdown against the Red Wings. With both teams currently outside of the playoff picture, both desperately need the two points as they battle for the second wild card spot in the Eastern Conference. The Canes, currently on a two game losing streak, are 4-5-1 in their last 10. They’re coming in well rested after enjoying their bye week over the last five days. Detroit is 5-5-0 in their last 10 and coming off a tough loss against the Dallas Stars on Tuesday. With some new powerplay lines to break through a stagnant man advantage, the team is looking to launch into another winning streak.

THE RED WINGS

Detroit Red Wings lines via DailyFaceoff

Detroit continues to battle through injuries as Justin Abdelkader, Darren Helm, and Luke Glendening all remain out. Abdelkader and Helm will be out until at least Thursday and Glendening won’t be back until after the All-Star Break. This means that Dominic Turgeon will remain with the team to pick up some of the defensive responsibilities. In his two games so far, Turgeon has recorded one shot on goal and five blocked shots. He’ll play on the fourth line with Luke Witkowski and Martin Frk.

With Frk on the fourth line, David Booth has been promoted to play on the third with Frans Nielsen and Tomas Tatar while another rookie, Tyler Bertuzzi, will play his second game in a row with Dylan Larkin and Andreas Athanasiou. Bertuzzi showed great patience on his pass to spring Athanasiou on a breakaway against Dallas on Tuesday. He continues to impress and one would think that he’s earned a permanent spot with the squad. The first line of Anthony Mantha, Henrik Zetterberg, and Gustav Nyquist stays intact as Zetterberg has put up 14 points in his last 17 games. The captain is once again breaking out in the second half of the season.

On the blueline, the Daley-DeKeyser experiment continues as Jonathan Ericsson falls to the third pairing. One last roster adjustment was made here as Xavier Ouellet is going to sub in for Nick Jensen and play alongside Ericsson.

THE HURRICANES

Carolina Hurricanes lines via DailyFaceoff

This Hurricanes team is young and fast and full of potential. Unfortunately for them, Sebastian Aho, their leading goal scorer and point producer, is out indefinitely with knee issues and a concussion. Elias Lindholm will take his place on the top line with Jordan Staal and Teuvo Teravainen.

Jeff Skinner will likely get the bump to the second line as he looks for his 30th point this season. Three-time Stanley Cup Champion Justin Williams brings some experience to the bottom six with his twenty-seven points and strong defensive play.

The Canes blueline certainly leaves Red Wings fans with much to be desired. Noah Hanifin leads the charge on points with 21, while the top pairing of Justin Faulk and Jaccob Slavin have a combined 26 points. Rounding out the top-4 is Trevor van Riemsdyk, who also sees time on the second powerplay unit. This is a young and strong blueline that the Canes have built through the draft. They are going to be making waves through this league for years to come.

BETWEEN THE PIPES

Jimmy Howard vs. Scott Darling (unconfirmed)

Howard has been Jeff Blashill’s go-to all season. He’s certainly put up stretches of elite play, carrying the team on his back to victory. He’s also had stretches of poor play that a struggling defense couldn’t adequately covered. Howard is 3-2-0 in his last five, putting up a .926 save percentage. His last two games against Dallas and the Pittsburgh Penguins have been pretty bad, as he put up .846 and .889 save percentages respectively. The Wings need him to be on top of his game as he faces snipers in Teravainen and Stall tonight.

Goaltending is easily the Canes weakest department. Darling is still unconfirmed, though most likely, as the Canes could also go with Cam Ward. Darling has a .895 save percentage on the season and the team has gone 1-4-0 in the last five games that Darling has started. In two of those games, the opposing team scored 7 or more goals. This is a good opportunity for Detroit’s forwards to build some confidence.

HOW TO WATCH

Puck drop is at 7:00 P.M. ET at Little Caesars Arena and you can watch the game on Fox Sports Detroit or Fox Sports Carolina.

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