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WGD: Game 24: Red Wings vs. Blue Jackets

For the third time this season, the Detroit Red Wings and Columbus Blue Jackets will face off against each other. In the season opener, the Jackets stole a 3-2 win in overtime. Later in the month, the Wings almost coughed up a 3-0 lead in the 3rd period before putting it away in a 5-3 victory.

Tonight, both teams need a win. Columbus is looking to leapfrog Washington for 1st place in the division and Detroit is fighting to stay in the playoff picture.

THE RED WINGS

Detroit Red Wings lines via DailyFaceoff

Martin Frk is set to make his return to the lineup, which means Christoffer Ehn is going to sit this one out and Jacob De La Rose will take his spot as the fourth line center. Other than that, there are no changes to the forward lines. I would still like to see Tyler Bertuzzi on the top line with Larkin and Mantha instead of Abdelkader, but that is a minor tweak and, frankly, these lines have been working so why mess with them?

On the blue line, it was revealed on Saturday that Jonathan Ericsson is healthy and ready to go. He was a healthy scratch then and he’ll once again be a healthy scratch tonight. While some fans might rejoice, this can’t be something anyone in the Red Wings organization is happy about. It really makes me wonder if a trade is on the horizon to ship out a D-man and get Ericsson back on the ice.

THE BLUE JACKETS

Columbus Blue Jackets lines via DailyFaceoff

Pending free agent Artemi Panarin highlights the top line in Columbus for likely the final season. He’s paired with notable Red Wing killer Cam Atkinson, who always seems to creep onto the score sheet in these games.

This team has so much depth, too. Josh Anderson has been great lately and Anthony Duclair has found some steady ground on this roster. Nick Foligno, Alex Wennberg and Riley Nash are all noteworthy players who can make an impact at all ends of the ice. It’s quite clear why they are at the top of their division.

On the back end, Zach Werenski is surely excited to face his best friend (Dylan Larkin) once again. The top pairing that he’s on with Seth Jones is a scary one and better than any of the Red Wings pairings.

BETWEEN THE PIPES

Jimmy Howard vs Sergei Bobrovsky

If the hand is hot, don’t sit it! Howard is rocking a .925 save percentage right now, facing average of 33 shots per game played. He is ready to face the fast-paced and high-shooting Blue Jackets squad.

On the other end, Bobrovsky has bounced back nicely from a rough start. He needs to put up stellar stats this year since he’s in the final year of his deal and is also likely to be leaving Columbus.

HOW TO WATCH

Puck drop is at 7:30 P.M. ET and you’ll be able to watch the game on Fox Sports Detroit or Fox Sports Ohio.

As always, follow along with us on Twitter as we post reactions, gifs, and everything else a topical sports blog twitter account should have.