After a thrilling win in Nashville to open up the season, the Red Wings return home to play in front of their home crowd for the first time. Their opponent: The Dallas Stars.

The Stars are arguably one of the best teams in the Western Conference, boasting two prominent forwards up front in Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin, and an emerging defense headlined by John Klingberg and Miro Heiskanen. But as Detroit proved last night, they can play up to their competition. For most of the Nashville game the Wings looked liked they belonged, which contradicts what many are predicting as their fate.

But one game is just one game. They’ll need to prove the world wrong night after night. Potentially seeing the debut of Andreas Athanasiou makes that task a little easier.

Projected Lines

Detroit Red Wings

After missing the season opener, Athanasiou is presumably a game time decision once again. If he can play then he’ll join the second line, Valtteri Filppula will drop to the third line, and Darren Helm will be healthy scratched. If not, then these are your lines.

Luke Glendening stepped up in Nashville, but if Detroit doesn’t get a similar performance from someone in the bottom-9 they could be in trouble. That top-line is this team’s heart beat, combining for 9 points to start the season. The depth issues will start to become more evident as the season continues, with or without Athanasiou. Goaltending will have to keep them in it.

Speaking of goaltending, Jonathan Bernier is the expected starter. Bernier is looking to have a bounce back season. A win in the home opener would do wonders for his confidence.

Dallas Stars

This Stars lineup is much deeper then in years past. Before, they were a three man show with Benn, Seguin, and Klingberg. Their defense and goaltending was among the worst in the league.

That is not the case now.

Insert: Heiskanen, Ben Bishop, Roope Hintz, and Joe Pavelski. All of a sudden, Dallas is a four line team. Their consistent attack will test the the weak depth of Detroit. If the Wings want to win this game, they’ll have to survive long enough for Larkin, Mantha, and Bertuzzi to work their magic.

Three Thoughts

1.) Jonathan Benier’s Debut

I touched on Bernier before. He likely gets the start with Howard playing yesterday. And as we saw in Howard’s debut, his excellent 39 save performance gave Detroit a chance. That’s been the story for the last two years — over relying on goaltending.

Its the unfortunate truth, which is why Bernier needs to have a big day. His .904 save percentage in 2018-19 was disappointing, to say the least. Starting off the new season on the right note will be important for Bernier.

2.) Cholowski’s Ice Time

Jeff Blashill was heavily reliant on his top-4 in Nashville. Each of Danny DeKeyser, Filip Hronek, Patrik Nemeth, and Mike Green played over 20 minutes. Cholowski on the other hand played about 16 minutes with powerplay time. His partner, Trevor Daley, played 13 minutes with little special teams time.

The question to ask is if Blashill will rely a little less on the top-4 and reward Cholowski, who played a good game on Saturday. If not, is it to ease him in, or is there just no trust in Daley? Something to monitor tonight and in the future.

3.) No Ben Bishop

Dallas is going with their backup, Anton Khudobin, after Bishop dropped their first two outings. The switch comes with Bishop currently boasting a .900 save percentage in the first two games. But Khudobin is no slouch, being recognized as one of the best backups in the league.

The veteran net-minder put up a .923 save percentage in 41 games last season.