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Wild at Red Wings preview

Minnesota tries to move closer to playoff position; Detroit goalie Howard winless since Oct. 29

by Dave Hogg / Independent Correspondent

WILD (30-25-7) at RED WINGS (15-46-4)

7:30 p.m. ET; FS-D, FS-N, FS-WI, NHL.TV


The Game

The Minnesota Wild will try to move closer to a Stanley Cup Playoff position when they play the Detroit Red Wings at Little Caesars Arena on Thursday.

The Wild are three points behind the Nashville Predators, Winnipeg Jets and Arizona Coyotes for the second wild card into the playoffs from the Western Conference. Minnesota is 10-5-1 in its past 16 games.

Goalie Jimmy Howard will start for the Red Wings. He is 0-17-2 with a 4.46 goals-against average and .876 save percentage since his last win, 3-1 against the Edmonton Oilers on Oct. 29.

Forward Sam Gagner will debut for the Red Wings after he was traded to Detroit by the Edmonton Oilers on Monday.


Players to watch

Wild center Eric Staal has three points (one goal, two assists) in his past three games.

Red Wings center Dylan Larkin has six points (two goals, four assists) in a four-game point streak.


They said it

"For us, it's a must two points. Obviously for them they're working for jobs. … We [have to] play our game. We come in and play our game and work hard, we're going to give ourselves a good chance tonight." -- Wild goalie Alex Stalock

"They're playing good hockey and they're really competing. They look like a team -- I don't like using this word -- but look like a team that's desperate to put a push on to try to make the playoffs and they're right there in the mix, so I think when you play those types of teams … we're going to get their best, so we have to make sure they get our best, No. 1." -- Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill


Wild projected lineup

Gerald Mayhew -- Eric Staal -- Kevin Fiala

Marcus Foligno -- Alex Galchenyuk -- Mats Zuccarello

Zach Parise -- Joel Eriksson Ek -- Jordan Greenway

Ryan Donato -- Mikko Koivu -- Ryan Hartman

Ryan Suter -- Jared Spurgeon

Jonas Brodin -- Matt Dumba

Brad Hunt -- Greg Pateryn

Alex Stalock

Devan Dubnyk

Scratched: Victor Rask

Injured: Luke Kunin (upper body), Carson Soucy (upper body)


Red Wings projected lineup

Tyler Bertuzzi -- Dylan Larkin -- Anthony Mantha

Sam Gagner -- Valtteri Filppula -- Brendan Perlini

Darren Helm -- Luke Glendening -- Frans Nielsen

Justin Abdelkader -- Christoffer Ehn

Patrik Nemeth -- Filip Hronek

Trevor Daley -- Alex Biega

Madison Bowey -- Jonathan Ericsson

Cody Goloubef

Jimmy Howard

Jonathan Bernier

Scratched: None

Injured: Danny DeKeyser (back), Filip Zadina (lower body), Adam Erne (undisclosed), Robby Fabbri (knee), Gustav Lindstrom (undisclosed)


Status report

Hronek returns after missing four games with a head injury. ... Fabbri, a forward, and Lindstrom, a defenseman, remain day to day.


Stat pack

Fiala has four points (three goals, one assist) in his past four games. … The Red Wings, who have lost 17 of 20 (3-16-1), have scored 10 goals at 5-on-5 in their past 13 games, four of coming in a 4-3 win against the Montreal Canadiens on Feb. 18.

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