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WGD: GAME 64: RED WINGS @ JETS

The Red Wings put fourth a hell of an effort on Wednesday, but it wasn’t enough to get past Carter Hutton and the St. Louis Blues.

The Red Wings outshot the Blues 36-to-25 but Hutton stood on his head and snapped a seven-game losing skid for St. Louis. At this point, it’s better for the Red Wings to get zero points than two.

There is a strong chance of that happening again tonight. The Winnipeg Jets have built one of the strongest teams in the NHL and their top-9 forwards may be the most talented in the league. The Jets made their team even better at the trade deadline, acquiring Paul Stastny from St. Louis to make them as strong as any team down the middle with Stastny, Mark Scheifele, Bryan Little and Adam Lowry (when healthy).

The Jets come into Friday with the sixth best record in hockey (37-17-9), second in the Central Division and top five in both goals for (213) and goals against (170).

THE RED WINGS

Detroit Red Wings lines via DailyFaceoff

The Red Wings will get Mike Green (neck) back in the lineup tonight. Green has missed the last seven games and the next injury may be the only reason he is still in a Red Wings uniform tonight—well that an a no-trade clause, perhaps. There is no word on who Green will replace, but someone else is questionable with an illness according to head coach Jeff Blashill.

Tyler Bertuzzi was back on the second line on Wednesday and the trio of Bertuzzi-Dylan LarkinAndreas Athanasiou was busy on Wednesday. Athanasiou scored the lone Red Wings’ goal and the trio combined for nine shots on goal (six from Larkin). However, they also gave up the most attempts against, so they need to figure it out defensively if they’re going to be a quality line heading into 2018-19.

THE JETS

Winnipeg Jets lines via DailyFaceoff

The Jets are absolutely filthy from top-to-bottom and right now it all starts with Blake Wheeler. The 31-year-old continues to be one of the more underrated players in the NHL and he did an exceptional job keeping the Jets above water while Mark Scheifele was sidelined in January and into February. Wheeler comes into Friday on a nine-game point streak, picking up an absurd 17 points (4G / 13A) during that stretch.

Second-year forward Patrik Laine has quietly recorded 31 goals and 53 points in 63 games this season—that includes 13 points (8G / 5A) in his last 11 games.

The Jets added Stastny at the deadline, but they’ve done an excellent job of drafting, developing and promoting from within. It started in recent years with players like Nikolaj Ehlers and Josh Morrissey and it continued this year with Kyle Connor and Jack Roslovic. Both players grew up fairly close to Detroit and played their hockey in the Great Lakes area. Connor has registered 22 goals and 19 assists (41 points) in 57 games as a full-time Jet this season and Roslovic has quickly become a top-9 forward with nine points (3G / 6A) in his first 21 games.

BETWEEN THE PIPES

Jimmy Howard vs. Connor Hellebuyck.

Howard turned aside 23 of 25 shots the loss to the Blues and has stopped 140 of 151 shots (.927 SV%) in his previous five starts. Tonight he will be making his sixth straight start, but will be in tough in Winnipeg—the Jets are 23-7-2 on home ice.

Hellebuyck had a rare bad outing vs. the Predators on Tuesday, allowing six goals on 32 shots in the 6-5 loss. Hellebuyck has easily been one of the best goalies in the NHL this season and is 22-5-2 with a 2.31 GAA and .921 SV% at the Bell MTS Place in 2017-18.

HOW TO WATCH

Puck-drop between the Red Wings and Jets is at 8:00 p.m. ET at the Bell MTS Place in Winnipeg, MB. It can be seen in the United States on Fox Sports Detroit-PLUS or in Canada on TSN3.

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