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Following a 6-3 loss against the Avalanche, the Red Wings will look to close out the unofficial first half of the season against the 22-21-6 Wild. For Detroit, their team will be seeking to head into the All-Star break on a high note, as they’ve lost each of their last five games and have allowed at least four goals in four of those previous contests.

As for Minnesota, their squad will be looking to further build off their recent offensive success, as they’ve averaged to score 4.3 goals/game over their last four games. While most people will likely avoid witnessing this matchup between these two bottom-feeding teams, here’s hoping for a quality showdown before the league takes the next two nights off.

Projected Lines

Detroit Red Wings

DEFENSIVE PAIRINGS
Patrik Nemeth
PATRIK NEMETH
Mike Green
MIKE GREEN
Trevor Daley
TREVOR DALEY
Filip Hronek
FILIP HRONEK
Alex Biega
ALEX BIEGA
Madison Bowey
MADISON BOWEY

Unfortunately for Detroit, they’re expected to be without superstar forward Anthony Mantha for at least another month. In fact, the talented young winger could be sidelined for the remainder of the season as well. With that in mind, rookie Givani Smith will continue to receive an extended look at the NHL level.

Over his previous four games, the 21-year-old has scored a pair of goals and created eight total shots on net. Now positioned on Detroit’s second line, Smith should continue to receive additional ice time as he’ll also remain on the second powerplay unit as well.

Additionally, not included in the above lineup, Dennis Cholowski is expected to play tonight. The 2016 first rounder was recalled from Grand Rapids this morning and will replace the injured Mike Green.

Minnesota Wild

DEFENSIVE PAIRINGS
Ryan Suter
RYAN SUTER
Jared Spurgeon
JARED SPURGEON
Jonas Brodin
JONAS BRODIN
Mathew Dumba
MATHEW DUMBA
Greg Pateryn
GREG PATERYN
Carson Soucy
CARSON SOUCY

Over their previous four games, veterans Zach Parise and Ryan Suter have been carrying the load for Minnesota’s offense. During that time frame, Parise has tallied five goals while Suter has produced one goal and five points. Despite the Wild’s poor record this season, the Red Wings will need to attempt to contain their top-line during tonight’s contest or they may be overwhelmed on the scoresheet.

Three Thoughts

1.) Redemption in Faceoff Dot  

After being dominated in the faceoff circle by Colorado back on Tuesday, Detroit has an opportunity to redeem themselves tonight in Minnesota. So far this season, the Wild have generated the fourth-worst FOW% (47.8%) throughout the entire league. Specifically, Minnesota has struggled mightily at winning faceoffs in their defensive zone, as they’ve produced the third-lowest DZ FOW% (43.8%) since Dec. 1.

While the Red Wings haven’t been great at winning faceoffs this season, their team has been outstanding in the offensive zone since Jan.1. During that span, Detroit is tied for the third-best OZ FOW% (55.4%) in the league. So, the Red Wings should be able to generate a significant amount of pressure in the offensive zone later tonight.

2.) Strong Performance From Brendan Perlini 

Despite a scoreless performance during his first game since Jan. 5, depth forward Brendan Perlini recorded a quality effort against the Avalanche on Tuesday. The 23-year-old received just 8:44 minutes of playing time, but he also spent 1:16 minutes of his ice time on Detroit’s second powerplay unit.

In total, Perlini recorded a trio of shots on net along with a takeaway as well. Since Perlini won’t want to resume his role as a healthy scratch once the All-Star break concludes, fans should expect another encouraging performance from the left-hander against the Wild tonight.

3.) Critical 2nd Period

Through 50 games this season, the Red Wings have allowed the most goals (74) during the second period among all 31 teams in the league. In addition, Detroit also owns the most losses (27) in the league when trailing after the middle frame.

Since the start of the season, Minnesota has produced the fifth-most goals (59) during the second period. Although, the Wild are currently tied with the Red Wings for the second-most losses (3) when leading after the second period this season. So, if you’re tuning into this game, you definitely won’t want to miss the middle frame of tonight’s contest.


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