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Red Wings at Jets preview

Winnipeg looks to close gap in Central Division; Green returns to Detroit lineup

by Scott Billeck / Correspondent

RED WINGS (26-27-10) at JETS (37-17-9)

8 p.m. ET; TSN3, FS-D+, NHL.TV


The Game

The Winnipeg Jets will attempt to tighten the Central Division race when they host the Detroit Red Wings at Bell MTS Place on Friday.

The Jets, 5-2-0 in their past seven games, are in second place in the Central, six points behind the first-place Nashville Predators, who are idle Friday. Winnipeg, which has outscored its opponents 30-16 in its past six games, will be without defenseman Toby Enstrom, who will miss his second straight game with a lower-body injury. He is day to day.

Defenseman Mike Green, who missed seven games with a neck injury, will return for the Red Wings, 2-1-0 in their past three games after going 1-3-1 in their previous five games.

Goaltender Jimmy Howard is expected to start for Detroit, which is seven points behind the Columbus Blue Jackets for the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Eastern Conference. 


Players to watch

Red Wings forward Andreas Athanasiou has five points (three goals, two assists) in his past five games.

Jets forward Blake Wheeler has 15 points (four goals, 11 assists) in a nine-game point streak. 


They said it

"We've done a good job all year of picking ourselves back up when we've been kicked a little bit. We've had some real tough losses. We've been in some really tight games. Haven't won enough of them, that's why we sit where we sit, but I think all year, we've continued to get back up, and I expect us to get back up tonight." -- Detroit Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill 

"They're going to come out hard, we're going to come out hard. Playoff hockey is starting. It has started. No games are going to be easy, they haven't been, that's not going to change. They're going to get harder and harder, and we're ready for that." -- Jets forward Nikolaj Ehlers


Red Wings projected lineup

Anthony Mantha -- Henrik Zetterberg -- Gustav Nyquist

Tyler Bertuzzi -- Dylan Larkin -- Andreas Athanasiou

Darren Helm -- Frans Nielsen -- Justin Abdelkader

Martin Frk -- Luke Glendening -- David Booth

Jonathan Ericsson -- Trevor Daley

Niklas Kronwall -- Mike Green

Danny DeKeyser -- Nick Jensen

Jimmy Howard

Jared Coreau

Scratched: Luke Witkowski

Injured: None


Jets projected lineup

Kyle Connor -- Mark Scheifele -- Blake Wheeler 

Mathieu Perreault -- Bryan Little -- Jack Roslovic

Nikolaj Ehlers -- Paul Stastny -- Patrik Laine

Andrew Copp -- Matt Hendricks -- Joel Armia

Josh Morrissey -- Dustin Byfuglien

Dmitry Kulikov -- Tyler Myers

Joe Morrow -- Ben Chiarot

Connor Hellebuyck

Michael Hutchinson

Scratched: Marko Dano

Injured: Shawn Matthias (upper body), Steve Mason (concussion), Jacob Trouba (lower body), Adam Lowry (upper body), Brandon Tanev (upper body), Toby Enstrom (lower body)


Status report

Mason will play for Manitoba of the American Hockey League in a conditioning assignment this weekend. 


Stat pack

Laine has 11 points (six goals, five assists) in a six-game point streak. … Scheifele has 13 points (six goals, seven assists) in his past eight games.

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