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Wild at Red Wings preview

Little Caesars Arena set to host first regular-season game

by Dave Hogg / NHL.com Correspondent

WILD (0-0-0) at RED WINGS (0-0-0)

7:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, NHL.TV

 

The Game

The Detroit Red Wings will play their first regular-season game at their new home when they begin the regular season against the Minnesota Wild at Little Caesars Arena on Thursday.

"This place was loud when it was half-full for our preseason games," Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill said. "When it is full, people will know this is still the best hockey city in the world."

The Wild open their season without forward Zach Parise (back), who will miss at least the first two games and hopes to return to practice next week. They have high expectations after setting team records for wins (49), points (106) and goals (263) in 2016-17.

"This is a team that is on the verge of doing some really special," said forward Matt Cullen, who agreed to a one-year, $1 million contract with the Wild on Aug. 16. "We just have to keep moving forward."

 

Players to watch

Center Eric Staal is looking for a fast start after leading the Wild with 28 goals last season, but earning one assist in Minnesota's five-game loss to the St. Louis Blues in the Western Conference First Round.

The Red Wings are counting on a bounce-back season from forward Dylan Larkin, whose production dropped from 45 points (23 goals, 22 assists) with a plus-11 rating as a rookie to 32 points (17 goals, 15 assists) and minus-28 last season.

 

They said it

"My job tonight is to keep everyone on an even keel, because there's going to be a lot of excitement in the building tonight." -- Wild coach Bruce Boudreau on being the first visiting team to play at Little Caesars Arena

"When I showed them around, I think they both wished they were still playing." -- Red Wings captain Henrik Zetterberg, after giving former teammates Nicklas Lidstrom and Tomas Holmstrom a tour of the expanded facilities at Little Caesars Arena

 

Wild projected lineup

Nino Niederreiter -- Eric Staal -- Charlie Coyle

Jason Zucker -- Mikko Koivu -- Mikael Granlund

Marcus Foligno -- Joel Eriksson Ek -- Chris Stewart

Daniel Winnik -- Matt Cullen -- Tyler Ennis

Ryan Suter -- Jared Spurgeon

Matt Dumba -- Jonas Brodin

Kyle Quincey -- Mike Reilly

Devan Dubnyk

Alex Stalock

Scratched: Gustav Olofsson

Injured: Zach Parise (back)

 

Red Wings projected lineup

Tomas Tatar -- Henrik Zetterberg -- Gustav Nyquist

Anthony Mantha -- Dylan Larkin -- Martin Frk

Darren Helm -- Frans Nielsen -- Justin Abdelkader

David Booth -- Riley Sheahan -- Luke Glendening

Danny DeKeyser -- Trevor Daley

Xavier Ouellet -- Mike Green

Jonathan Ericsson -- Nick Jensen

Jimmy Howard

Petr Mrazek

Scratched: Luke Witkowski

Injured: Tyler Bertuzzi (wrist), Evgeny Svechnikov (neck), Niklas Kronwall (groin)

 

Status report

Winnik signed a one-year, $660,000 contract Wednesday to take Parise's place but needs a visa to play. If the process isn't completed, Olofsson will play as a seventh defenseman. … Daley, who signed a three-year contract after winning the Stanley Cup twice with the Pittsburgh Penguins, will make his Red Wings debut. … Kronwall is day to day … Detroit forward Andreas Athanasiou, a restricted free agent, remains unsigned.

 

Stat pack

The Wild are 3-1-1 in their past five openers and 4-1-1 in their past six. … The Red Wings are 3-2-0 in their past five openers and 5-2-0 in their past seven.

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