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Preview: Red Wings at Blue Jackets

Goalie Petr Mrazek starts again for Detroit; Columbus seeks to end two-game home losing streak

by Craig Merz / NHL.com Correspondent

RED WINGS (22-22-10) at BLUE JACKETS (34-14-5)

5 p.m. ET; FS-D, FS-O, NHL.TV

 
Red Wings team scope

The Detroit Red Wings will continue their push for the Stanley Cup Playoffs without defenseman Jonathan Ericsson, who fractured his right wrist after being checked into the boards by Nicklas Backstrom of the Washington Capitals during the Red Wings' 6-3 loss on Thursday. Ericsson was placed on long-term injured reserve Friday and is expected to miss 12 weeks. He could be replaced by Xavier Ouellet against the Columbus Blue Jackets. Or, defenseman Niklas Kronwall, out the past three games with a lower-body injury, might be available. Coach Jeff Blashill said Friday that Kronwall and center Frans Nielsen could return this weekend. The Red Wings also play at the Minnesota Wild on Sunday. Nielsen has missed the past three games with an upper-body injury. The Red Wings are six points out of the second wild card in the Eastern Conference. They have qualified for the Stanley Cup Playoffs in each of the past 25 straight seasons. Detroit has lost two straight, including 3-2 in overtime at home to the Blue Jackets on Tuesday.

 

Blue Jackets team scope

The Jackets, who trail the Pittsburgh Penguins by one point for second place in the Metropolitan Division, are trying to regain the momentum they had during their 16-game winning streak. They are 7-9-1 since. The Blue Jackets play the second of seven straight at home, where they have lost two in a row by combined score of 8-1. "We've got to relax a little bit here," coach John Tortorella said Friday. "We're going through a little bit of adversity as far as the winning and losing and just try to be ourselves. In a general term, we just have to play harder. We have to invest more into what it is to play a National Hockey League game right now in the toughest part of the year." Even though the Blue Jackets' 23.6 percent conversion rate on the power play leads the NHL, they have not scored with the man-advantage in seven games since Jan. 22. To be fair, they've had all of eight opportunities. In three of those games they did not have a power play and in the other four they had two tries in each. Sam Gagner has 14 goals, six on the power play, but is goalless in 21 games since Dec. 23.

 

Red Wings projected lineup

Gustav Nyquist -- Henrik Zetterberg -- Anthony Mantha

Andreas Athanasiou -- Darren Helm -- Thomas Vanek

Tomas Tatar -- Riley Sheahan -- Dylan Larkin

Justin Abdelkader -- Luke Glendening -- Tomas Jurco

Danny DeKeyser -- Mike Green

Nick Jensen -- Xavier Ouellet

Brendan Smith -- Ryan Sproul

Petr Mrazek

Jared Coreau

Scratched: Steve Ott, Alexey Marchenko

Injured: Tyler Bertuzzi (ankle), Jimmy Howard (knee), Frans Nielsen (upper-body), Niklas Kronwall (lower-body), Jonathan Ericsson (wrist)

 

Blue Jackets projected lineup

Brandon Saad -- Alexander Wennberg -- Nick Foligno

Boone Jenner -- Brandon Dubinsky -- Cam Atkinson

Matt Calvert -- William Karlsson -- Josh Anderson

Scott Hartnell -- Lukas Sedlak -- Sam Gagner

Zach Werenski -- Seth Jones

Markus Nutivaara -- Jack Johnson

Scott Harrington -- Ryan Murray

Sergei Bobrovsky

Anton Forsberg

Scratched: Dalton Prout

Injured: David Savard (back)

 
Status report

Howard was recalled Friday from Grand Rapids of the American Hockey League, where he had been assigned for conditioning Feb. 4. Per the Red Wings, he remains on injured reserve with a knee injury and will not play this weekend. "I'm just doing some rehab and strengthening it back up again, so hopefully I can go out and play next week," he told the Detroit News on Friday. Mrazek will start his fifth consecutive game. … The Blue Jackets recalled Forsberg from Cleveland of the AHL on Friday and sent down goaltender Joonas Korpisalo and forward Oliver Bjorkstrand. Bobrovsky will start vs. the Red Wings. Savard may return after missing five games.

 
Who's hot

Athanasiou had two goals against the Capitals to give him 13 for the season. Zetterberg has three goals and five assists in the past seven games. … Dubinsky has two goals and five points in the past four games. Jones has three goals, including the OT winner vs. Detroit, and three assists in the past six games.

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