Jan 21, 2013; Columbus, OH, USA; Detroit Red Wings center Henrik Zetterberg (40) and Columbus Blue Jackets center R.J. Umberger (18) face off during the second period at Nationwide Arena. Detroit defeated Columbus 4-3 in a shootout. Mandatory Credit: Russell LaBounty-USA TODAY Sports

Preview: Red Wings Look To End Losing Streak Against The Blue Jackets - Updated

The Detroit Red Wings face-off against the Columbus Blue Jackets tonight at 7:30 p.m. ET.

The Red Wings are on a four game losing streak and are sitting in 9th place in the Western Conference. The good news is a win against Columbus put the Wings back in the top 8. The Wings will have to help out Pavel Datsyuk, who has been on a tear for the Wings, but cannot be the be all end all for the team’s offense.

The Blue Jackets are on a three game losing streak of their own and have only won two of their past ten game. Columbus hasn’t been very good this season, but they always play the Red Wings tough. Whether it is the Wings playing done to their level or the Blue Jackets pushing themselves tonight will be a tough game.

Projected Line-up

Valtteri Filppula – Henrik Zetterberg – Damien Brunner

Daniel Cleary – Pavel Datsyuk – Justin Abdelkader

Tomas Tatar – Joakim Andersson – Patrick Eaves

Drew Miller – Cory Emmerton – Jordin Tootoo

Defense:

Niklas Kronwall – Brian Lashoff

Jonathan Ericsson – Ian White

Kyle Quincey – Jakub Kindl

Goaltender

Jonas Gustavsson

Jonas Gustavsson will receive his first start in net with goalie Jimmy Howard injured. Howard has been cleared to play, but I still expect Gustavsson to get the start.

Jan 19, 2013; St. Louis, MO, USA; Detroit Red Wings goalie Jonas Gustavsson (50) makes a save against the St. Louis Blues during the third period at the Scottrade Center. The Blues defeated the Red Wings 6-0. Mandatory Credit: Scott Rovak-USA TODAY Sports

Pavel Datsyuk has the privilege of centering the two most dangerous wingers on the team, in Dan Cleary and Justin Abdelkader. I think I threw up after saying that.

Speaking of awesome forward production, Valtteri Filppula needs to be much better than he has been so far this season. It is a contract year for him and while it will be better for the Wings to resign him if he has a bad season, it hurts the team a lot.

On the lighter side, Tomas Tatar continues to prove he belongs with the Red Wings for the rest of the season regardless of Wings players getting healthy. Check out out article about Tatar HERE.

Prediction: Jonas Gustavsson shines in his first start with the Wings and is happy to be far away from Toronto’s goalie coach Francois Allaire. On the offensive side, people not named Pavel Datsyuk decided to produce points for the Wings. Red Wings victory 3-0.

UPDATE:

Jimmy Howard will be between the pipes tonight, Jan Mursak is back in the line-up and will replace Patrick Eaves on the 3rd line, and Kent Huskins is back in for Jakub Kindl.

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