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WGD: Game 31: Red Wings vs. Kings

The Red Wings had an impressive stretch of games that saw them go 2-0-2 against four of the league’s best teams. On Saturday, they dropped a two goal lead to the New York Islanders. There’s been a trend lately of them building a lead and then losing it. It’s happened in their last three games.

While the strong starts are certainly encouraging, they need to play that brand of hockey for a full sixty minutes. Sitting on a lead and waiting it out is not a winning strategy in today’s NHL.

Tonight, the Wings have a chance to build some confidence as they host an ailing Los Angeles Kings team. The Kings have had a tough go this year, currently sitting in 30th place with an 11-18-1 record.

THE RED WINGS

Detroit Red Wings lines via DailyFaceoff

LW C RW
Gustav Nyquist
GUSTAV NYQUIST

Rating: 75.9#32 LW

Dylan Larkin
DYLAN LARKIN

Rating: 77.9#30 C

Justin Abdelkader
JUSTIN ABDELKADER

Rating: 69.9#123 RW

Andreas Athanasiou
ANDREAS ATHANASIOU

Rating: 75.5#43 LW

Frans Nielsen
FRANS NIELSEN

Rating: 72.8#82 C

Thomas Vanek
THOMAS VANEK

Rating: 71.8#75 RW

Tyler Bertuzzi
TYLER BERTUZZI

Rating: 73.2#48 LW

Luke Glendening
LUKE GLENDENING

Rating: 69.6#168 C

Michael Rasmussen
MICHAEL RASMUSSEN

Rating: 72.0#108 RW

Christoffer Ehn
CHRISTOFFER EHN

Rating: 72.2#71 LW

Jacob De La Rose
JACOB DE LA ROSE

Rating: 67.9#185 C

Martin Frk
MARTIN FRK

Rating: 68.8#114 RW

DEFENSIVE PAIRINGS
Niklas Kronwall
NIKLAS KRONWALL

Rating: 70.8#100 LD

Mike Green
MIKE GREEN

Rating: 75.2#26 RD

Jonathan Ericsson
JONATHAN ERICSSON

Rating: 68.7#126 LD

Nick Jensen
NICK JENSEN

Rating: 70.8#81 RD

Dennis Cholowski
DENNIS CHOLOWSKI

Rating: 71.8#6 LD

Luke Witkowski
LUKE WITKOWSKI

Rating: 67.8#106 RD

The Red Wings have been hit hard with the injury bug. They are definitely missing Anthony Mantha and Darren Helm in the lineup, but strong performances from Frans Nielsen and Gustav Nyquist have made their absences hurt less.

On the back end, Brian Lashoff has yet to see ice time and that’s because Luke Witkowski is playing for Danny DeKeyser. Trevor Daley should be back on the ice soon, too.

THE KINGS

Los Angeles Kings lines via DailyFaceoff

LW C RW
Alex Iafallo
ALEX IAFALLO

Rating: 71.1#103 LW

Anze Kopitar
ANZE KOPITAR

Rating: 79.5#25 C

Dustin Brown
DUSTIN BROWN

Rating: 77.9#18 RW

Brendan Leipsic
BRENDAN LEIPSIC

Rating: 70.9#106 LW

Jeff Carter
JEFF CARTER

Rating: 74.9#49 C

Matt Luff
MATT LUFF

Rating: 72.4#66 RW

Austin Wagner
AUSTIN WAGNER

Rating: 72.3#76 LW

Adrian Kempe
ADRIAN KEMPE

Rating: 69.7#167 C

Tyler Toffoli
TYLER TOFFOLI

Rating: 73.3#44 RW

Kyle Clifford
KYLE CLIFFORD

Rating: 70.7#110 LW

Nate Thompson
NATE THOMPSON

Rating: 67.1#188 C

Mike Amadio
MIKE AMADIO

Rating: 70.4#97 RW

DEFENSIVE PAIRINGS
Derek Forbort
DEREK FORBORT

Rating: 71.8#73 LD

Drew Doughty
DREW DOUGHTY

Rating: 79.6#11 RD

Jake Muzzin
JAKE MUZZIN

Rating: 75.4#24 LD

Alec Martinez
ALEC MARTINEZ

Rating: 73.7#40 RD

Dion Phaneuf
DION PHANEUF

Rating: 70.1#112 LD

Oscar Fantenberg
OSCAR FANTENBERG

Rating: 70.8#82 RD

The Kings are without superstar free agent acquisition Ilya Kovalchuk, but his season hasn’t been great anyways. In fact, the Kings don’t have much to write home about as all of their big name players are experiencing down time this year and they find a cozy spot at the bottom of the standings.

At this time, the playoffs are a long shot. But these basement teams can sometimes be the most dangerous. You are far more unpredictable when you’ve got nothing to lose.

BETWEEN THE PIPES

Jimmy Howard vs. Jonathan Quick

After a few strong starts from Jonathan Bernier, it seems as though the Wings will go back to Jimmy Howard tonight. Howie has been stellar this year and is one of the biggest reasons the team is just outside of the playoff picture. While the team has been scoring lots of goals lately, they can be even more confident when they know Howard is backstopping them in net.

Jonathan Quick has had another tough year of injuries. He seems to be back for good now, though. If only he was playing better! Through his nine games this year, Quick’s posted a save percentage of .893 and a goals against average of 3.23. He’s 2-3-0 in his last five games.

HOW TO WATCH

Puck drop is at 7:30 P.M. ET tonight and you’ll be able to watch the game on Fox Sports Detroit, Fox Sports West, and NHLN-US.

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