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Red Wings at Blue Jackets preview

Detroit 1-8-1 in past 10 games; Merzlikins, Columbus can extend streaks

by Craig Merz / NHL.com Independent Correspondent

RED WINGS (13-38-4) at BLUE JACKETS (29-16-9)

7 p.m. ET; ESPN+, FS-O, FS-D, NHL.TV

 

The Game

The Columbus Blue Jackets will try to extend their point streak to 10 games when they host the Detroit Red Wings at Nationwide Arena on Friday.

The Blue Jackets, who seek their third straight win, are 8-0-1 in their past nine games and have outscored opponents 26-11 including four shutouts. They hold the first wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Eastern Conference and can move past the New York Islanders into third place in the Metropolitan Division.

Goalie Elvis Merzlikins looks to win his eighth consecutive start for the longest winning streak by an NHL rookie goalie this season. He's 7-0-0 with a 1.14 goals-against average, .965 save percentage and four shutouts in his past seven starts.

The Red Wings, who ended a nine-game winless streak (0-8-1) with a 4-3 shootout win at the Buffalo Sabres on Thursday, have been outscored 40-15 in their past 10 games and are 4-16-1 in their past 21 games.

 

Players to watch

Red Wings center Dylan Larkin has 15 points (six goals, nine assists) in his past 15 games.

Blue Jackets defenseman Zach Werenski leads all NHL players at the position with 16 goals and is tied for the team record for goals by a defenseman in a season with Seth Jones; each scored 16 goals in 2017-18.

 

They said it

"Just a total team win. It feels good right now. We've got to keep it going." -- Red Wings center Dylan Larkin on the win against the Sabres

"It really is the probably the bread and butter of what we are as a group and it's worked for us." -- Blue Jackets forward Nick Foligno on Columbus' 2.46 goals-against average, second in the NHL to the Boston Bruins (2.38)

 

Red Wings projected lineup

Darren Helm -- Dylan Larkin -- Robby Fabbri

Tyler Bertuzzi -- Valtteri Filppula -- Justin Abdelkader

Taro Hirose -- Andreas Athanasiou -- Luke Glendening

Adam Erne -- Christoffer Ehn -- Givani Smith

Patrik Nemeth -- Alex Biega

Filip Hronek -- Madison Bowey

Trevor Daley -- Gustav Lindstrom

Jimmy Howard

Jonathan Bernier

Scratched: Jonathan Ericsson

Injured: Danny DeKeyser (back), Anthony Mantha (upper body), Filip Zadina (lower body), Mike Green (finger), Frans Nielsen (upper body), Dennis Cholowski (undisclosed)

 

Blue Jackets projected lineup

Nick Foligno -- Pierre-Luc Dubois -- Oliver Bjorkstrand

Gustav Nyquist -- Boone Jenner -- Cam Atkinson

Sonny Milano -- Riley Nash -- Emil Bemstrom

Kevin Stenlund -- Ryan MacInnis -- Nathan Gerbe

Zach Werenski -- Seth Jones

Vladislav Gavrikov -- David Savard

Scott Harrington -- Markus Nutivaara

Elvis Merzlikins

Matiss Kivlenieks

Scratched: Andrew Peeke

Injured: Brandon Dubinsky (wrist), Josh Anderson (shoulder), Ryan Murray (lower body), Alexandre Texier (back), Dean Kukan (knee), Alexander Wennberg (upper body), Joonas Korpisalo (knee), Eric Robinson (lower body)

 

Status report

Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill said Cholowski, a defenseman, sat Thursday with a "little irritation" and was not 100 percent. Bowey replaced him. … Robinson, a forward, was injured blocking a shot in a 1-0 overtime win against the Florida Panthers on Tuesday. If he can't play, Stenlund will take his spot.

 

Stat pack

Nemeth will play his 300th NHL game and Hronek his 100th. … Bjorkstrand has 13 points (10 goals, three assists) in his past nine games.

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