RED WINGS (9-2-2) at JETS (5-8-2)
TV: FS-D, TSN-JETS
Last 10: Detroit 6-2-2; Winnipeg 3-5-2
Big story: When the NHL realigned this season it was largely done at the behest of Winnipeg, which was toiling in the Southeast Division despite playing west of several Western Conference teams. When the Jets switched conferences, the Red Wings were one of the teams to benefit, moving to the East where they would play more games in Detroit's time zone. With both teams now cozy in their new environs, they'll face off Monday night to see who is getting the better of the deal.
Red Wings: Last Wednesday, the Red Wings were struggling after going 0-1-2 on a three-game homestand with a four-game road trip to western Canada looming. As that road trip comes to an end, the situation doesn't look quite so dire anymore. Detroit has won in all three of its stops so far during its current road swing, and a win in Winnipeg on Monday is all that stands between the Wings and a perfect 4-0-0 mark on the trip. Detroit looked particularly impressive in its last game on Saturday, beating the Edmonton Oilers 5-0.
"We controlled the game and played well," Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said. "We wanted to play three periods, not two like we did last night [in a 4-3 win against the Calgary Flames]."
With three straight wins the Red Wings are now in a three-way tie for first place in the Atlantic Division with the Tampa Bay Lightning and Toronto Maple Leafs. After finishing its current road trip on Monday, Detroit will play seven of its next eight games at home.
Jets: After winning just once in their previous six games, the Jets were likely hoping for a warm welcome when they returned to Winnipeg from a four-game road trip this past Saturday. A 5-1 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks, however, was likely not what they had in mind. The defeat marked nine games since Winnipeg last won in regulation, and the players and coaches were clearly frustrated after the final whistle.
"I think you could see some frustration in the way that we managed that game," Jets coach Claude Noel said. "I think that in a matter of couple of minutes, the game changed drastically, and certainly when that happens there's a lot of emotion that comes into yourself that is not good emotion, and that is what starts to get to you and is tough."
The Jets' struggles have sent them tumbling down the standings to the Central Division basement, leaving them as the only team in the division with a sub-.500 record.
Injury report: Forward Johan Franzen (illness) did not play Saturday after leaving the Red Wings' game Friday night in Calgary. He is expected to return Monday. Defenseman Jonathan Ericsson (upper-body injury), goalie Jonas Gustavsson (strained neck) and defenseman Brendan Smith (shoulder) are all on injured reserve. Jim Slater (undisclosed) has missed seven games for the Jets and is questionable for Monday night. … Winnipeg recently lost defenseman Paul Postma (blood clot in leg) for three months. Defenseman Mark Stuart (hip) and Jacob Trouba (neck) are both on IR.