Meeting for the second game in a row, this time in Detroit, the Red Wings and Jets have a Thursday night affair set for tonight. Back on Tuesday, Winnipeg embarrassed this lowly Red Wings squad in a 5-1 decision. It was an ugly second half for Detroit, losing all of their jump after allowing 3 goals in the final 2 minutes of the second period.

Tonight’s game could be a daunting challenge, as more key players could be sidelined with injury.

Projected Lines

Detroit Red Wings

Detroit management has really been playing with our minds as of late. Filip Zadina and Dylan McIlrath were both sent down yesterday, only to be recalled today. How long they stay up with the team is uncertain. For a player like Zadina, every opportunity he gets will be an important one.

Dennis Cholowski, however, was also assigned to Grand Rapids. As of now, it looks like it’ll stay that way. Which means the NHL defensive corps could look even more slim on paper.

Last, and certainly the most notable, is the status of Dylan Larkin and Andreas Athanasiou. Larkin is questionable with illness and will most likely be a game time decision. Atanasiou has already been ruled out. If Larkin can’t go, that could mean the top-line center duties will be taken over by Val Filppula or possibly Robby Fabbri. Buckle up, folks.

Winnipeg Jets

It looks like the Jets will be deploying the same lineup from Tuesday. The only main change will be Connor Hellebuyck starting in net over Laurent Brossoit.

Winnipeg’s lineup as a whole took over in the previous matchup. The third line even managed to convert a goal, courtesy of Adam Lowry. However, the real firepower of this team lies with the first line. Per Corsica Ratings, Kyle Connor, Mark Scheifele, and Patrik Laine form the 6th best first line in the entire league. The second line also ranks 12th.

Three Thoughts

1.) Injury bug taking over

The Red Wings have been plagued by injuries this season. Anthony Mantha has been out the past few weeks, Danny DeKeyser for the last month. Now, maybe Detroit’s the two most impactful forwards remaining could be sidelined.

Depth is a huge issue and could plummet any chance Detroit has in this game. There is a very real possibility that Zadina will have to take on a larger role. Aside for Tyler Bertuzzi, there are no other strong 5-on-5 forwards on the roster, outside of Athanasiou and Larkin.

2.) Cholowski sent down

The decision to send down Cholowski looks to be a real one and not just a paper transaction. My thoughts? Well, I think at this point in Cholowski’s development he needs to be playing against high-end competition. He’s adjusted to the higher pace of the NHL, and a demotion to the AHL only stymies that progress.

The AHL also lacks high-end skill players like Kyle Connor, Patrik Laine, etc., for Cholowski to gain experience defending against. Allow him to make mistakes and learn from them. Poor play at this stage does not necessarily equal improper development. That’s just my two cents. I think it was a mistake. Not to mention this lineup could desperately use a player of his skillset.

3.) Chasing history

The Red Wings’ current losing streak is at 12 games. The franchise record sits at 13 games, the NHL record at 17. For a club that takes pride in their history and culture, that’s not a mark you want to set. I don’t know if the players are aware of how close they are, but if they are, I would expect a strong, resilient effort against a Jets squad that just embarrassed them.