Detroit Red Wings will try to put yesterday behind them in Minnesota

ST. PAUL, MN - MARCH 4: Gustav Nyquist #14 of the Detroit Red Wings shoots the puck with Nino Niederreiter #22 of the Minnesota Wild defending during the game at the Xcel Energy Center on March 4, 2018 in St. Paul, Minnesota. (Photo by Bruce Kluckhohn/NHLI via Getty Images)
ST. PAUL, MN - MARCH 4: Gustav Nyquist #14 of the Detroit Red Wings shoots the puck with Nino Niederreiter #22 of the Minnesota Wild defending during the game at the Xcel Energy Center on March 4, 2018 in St. Paul, Minnesota. (Photo by Bruce Kluckhohn/NHLI via Getty Images) /
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After an ugly start last night in Winnipeg, and not having the ability to complete a comeback the Detroit Red Wings will try their luck in Minnesota tonight.

The Detroit Red Wings will turn to Jimmy Howard tonight to board up the net in Minnesota to give them a chance to win a hockey game.  I mention “a” hockey game because the simplicity of winning a single hockey game seems so far fetched at the moment.

Before you get all uptight, I am not suggesting winning a hockey game is easy; it’s not.  It’s very difficult to do but losing 9 out of the last 10 games, or 13 of the previous 15 is even harder to accomplish, yet the Wings have succeeded.

This is the NHL, the greatest hockey league in the world, period.  Any of these teams can win on any given night.  The Detroit Red Wings are struggling mightily of late; they are in the midst of some of the worst hockey I’ve seen.  Some will mention this stretch of hockey is worse than the early ’80s.  I wouldn’t go that far, yet.

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Dylan Larkin expressed his displeasure after the loss last night.  He mentioned at some point this team needs to “buy in” and commit to team defense.  The lack of depth on the back-end is obvious even to the casual fan; the forwards need to make up for some of that inexperience and below average talent.

The Wings can’t afford to start slow tonight; they need to come out strong and limit the risky plays.  The defense can’t pinch and allow many odd-man rushes against.  Jimmy Howard will have to be darn near perfect and hold this team into the game, for the entire game.

I am not even going to focus on any Wild players this time; we need to focus on our own issues before we can talk about stopping or containing someone else.

The Wings need to find more consistent offensive pressure.  As much as I like Bertuzzi, Jeff Blashill should consider moving AA up with Larkin and Nyquist.  Have a legit scoring line as the top line.  Nielsen, Mantha, and Vanek are ok, although Vanek has lost all of his confidence.  He doesn’t even look to shoot right now when he should be.  I would put Bert with Glendening and Helm and make a true checking third line.

At this point, I would even consider plugging in Luke Witkowski as a forward on the fourth line over Christoffer Ehn.  We have enough penalty killing forward on this team, and Ehn hasn’t proven to offer much more.

Witkowski can provide the same amount of offense (not much), and bring a bit of energy to the lineup with his willingness to be physical. He might be enough to spark this team that is barely running on one single cylinder.  That being said, the expected lineup is once again too much of the “same.”

The Detroit Red Wings expected lineup:

Tyler Bertuzzi – Dylan Larkin (A) – Gustav Nyquist

Thomas Vanek – Frans Nielsen (A) – Anthony Mantha

Andreas Athanasiou – Luke Glendening – Darren Helm

Christoffer Ehn – Jacob de La Rose– Justin Abdelkader (A)

Niklas Kronwall (A) – Mike Green

Dennis Cholowski – Nick Jensen

Jonathan Ericsson – Filip Hronek

Jimmy Howard

Jonathan Bernier

Healthy Scratch: Martin Frk, Luke Witkowski

Injuries: Danny DeKesyer (Hand), Trevor Daley (lower-body), Evgeny Svechnikov (knee) Michael Rasmussen (day-to-day)

dark. Next. The door is swiftly closing on Martin Frk

Game Information:

Detroit Red Wings 16-23-7 vs. Minnesota Wild 22-18-3
Time: 8:00 EST
Location: Xcel Energy Center, St. Paul, Minnesota
TV:  Fox Sports Detroit, Fox Sports Go, NHL.TV, ESPN+
Radio: 97.1 The Ticket
Oddshark Odds Wild -260
Previous ten meetings Wild 6-3-1