With the slightest of holds on the final wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference, the Detroit Red Wings host a New Jersey Devils team Friday that sits two points behind them in the standings.
Two points don't get much bigger.
These teams will be renewing acquaintances after competing Tuesday at Prudential Center, where Stephen Gionta scored with 37 seconds remaining in regulation to give the Devils a 4-3 win.
The lineups will see some marked changes for the rematch at Joe Louis Arena. Martin Brodeur and Jimmy Howard started in net Tuesday; Jonas Gustavsson will be in goal for Detroit against Cory Schneider, who in his most recent start allowed four goals on 22 shots Sunday in a 4-2 loss to the San Jose Sharks.
Tuomo Ruutu, acquired Wednesday from the Carolina Hurricanes for Andrei Loktionov and a conditional 2017 third-round draft pick, will make his Devils debut on the third line, alongside Dainius Zubrus and Michael Ryder.
"When you get traded it's a big shock for sure," Ruutu said. "I really liked my time in Carolina. At the same time I knew [the Devils] wanted me really bad so I'm happy to join the team and be here. I still get nervous before every game, so maybe a little bit more nervous [Friday] than normal."
Devils defenseman Andy Greene left practice Thursday with an upper-body injury but said he was fine Friday and will play.
The Red Wings continue to be without forward Darren Helm, who has been limited to 29 games this season with a variety of injuries. Helm played Tuesday in Newark but had issues with his vision, possibly caused by hitting his head Feb. 27 in a 6-1 win against the Ottawa Senators. He remains out until Saturday at the earliest.
"It was never bad. Then the Jersey game I got a headache," Helm told Mlive.com "The headache itself wasn't keeping me out of the game. I was having troubles with vision, seeing the puck."
Defenseman Jakub Kindl will play in his first game since Feb. 3, taking the spot of Brian Lashoff in the Red Wings lineup. It will be Kindl's first game since spraining his MCL in a 2-0 win against the Vancouver Canucks.
Here are the projected lineups for the Devils and Red Wings:
Patrik Elias - Adam Henrique - Damien Brunner
Ryane Clowe - Travis Zajac - Jaromir Jagr
Tuomo Ruutu - Dainius Zubrus - Michael Ryder
Steve Bernier - Ryan Carter - Stephen Gionta
Marek Zidlicky - Bryce Salvador
Andy Greene - Mark Fayne
Eric Gelinas - Jon Merrill
Scratched: Anton Volchenkov, Peter Harrold, Jacob Josefson
Gustav Nyquist - David Legwand - Johan Franzen
Justin Abdelkader - Luke Glendening - Daniel Alfredsson
Tomas Tatar - Riley Sheahan - Tomas Jurco
Drew Miller - Joakim Andersson - Todd Bertuzzi
Jonathan Ericsson - Niklas Kronwall
Kyle Quincey - Danny DeKeyser
Brendan Smith - Jakub Kindl
Scratched: Brian Lashoff
Injured: Pavel Datsyuk (knee), Henrik Zetterberg (back), Daniel Cleary (knee), Darren Helm (head), Stephen Weiss (hernia)