DETROIT – Tonight marks the 20th time that the Red Wings will face-off against the Jets’ franchise.
The Jets, whose franchise began as the Atlanta Thrashers in 1999, moved to Manitoba in 2011.
Against the Jets, the Red Wings hold a 2-2-2 overall record with a 1-0-2 mark at Joe Louis Arena
The Wings are trying to avoid a fourth straight regulation loss, which would be the longest such streak of the season.
The Jets enter tonight’s game firmly entangled with Edmonton for last place with 59 points in the Western Conference.
Meanwhile, Detroit is holding on to the second wild card in the Eastern Conference with 75 points but they better start earning some points because Philadelphia (73 points) and Carolina (71 points) are creeping up the rear.
But with Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk on the ice, don’t expect the Jets and their coach Paul Maurice to take the Red Wings’ lightly. Both Wings' veterans have produced 19 points each in 14 career games against the Jets/Thrashers.
“Things haven’t gone the way they wanted to in the last three and that playoff picture tightens up,” Maurice said. “Then you’ve got two of the finest leaders in sports sitting in that locker room, so you know they’re coming tonight. They know they have to win. On their calendar, this is a must win game for them, which at times you can probably look to using that to your advantage. But I’m not sure with Zetterberg and Datsyuk having final say before they go out on the ice that there’s going to be much of an
According to the Jets’ media notes, the Red Wings asked to wear their white road jerseys for tonight’s game, and the Jets, who are on a one-game road, agreed to bring their blue home jerseys to Detroit. It will be the first time the Jets will ever wear their home jerseys for a road game.
It’s the sixth time this season that the Wings have gone all reversed jersey night, reversing sweaters against the Seantors (Oct. 30), Sabres (Dec. 14) and Pittsburgh (Dec. 31) at Joe Louis Arena, and at Ottawa's Canadian Tire Centre (Oct. 31) and Buffalo’s First Niagara Center (Jan. 22).
Detroit is 2-3-0 when its worn reversed sweaters this season.
The Wings’ power play had two early chances but had nothing to show for it other than six shots on goal – all stopped by Winnipeg goalie Michael Hutchinson – and a two-goal deficit heading into the second period.
After looking out of sync on their first power play opportunity, the Wings kicked things up a notch when Mark Scheifele was called for holding at 6:02. Gustav Nyquist had three of the Wings’ six shots on their second man advantage. Pavel Datsyuk, Brad Richards and Darren Helm had the other shots in the two-minute span.
The best chance came when Richards fired a low shot from the right circle that was tipped by Jacob Trouba but didn’t fool Hutchinson, who covered up for a faceoff with 12:45 left in the period.
Later on, with Jonathan Ericsson in the penalty box, the Jets caught the Wings on a line change that set Drew Stafford in along on Petr Mrazek. But the Wings’ goalie was helped out by the Jets’ forward who fell as he hit the brakes and lost control of the puck in front of the crease.
The Jets did break through late in the period, getting goals by center Marko Dano and defenseman Tyler Myers.
For Dano, it was his first goal since he was acquired from Chicago in exchange for Andrew Ladd.
Detroit had just four shots on goal in the final 12:01 of the period.
WINNIPEG 2, DETROIT 0
SCORING: 1. WPG, Dano (Perreault, Burmistrov), 11:23; 2. WPG, Myers (Scheifele), 16:31.
PENALTIES: 1. WPG, Wheeler (cross checking), 3:19; 2. WPG, Scheifele (holding), 6:02; 3. DET, Ericsson (hooking), 9:11; 4. WPG, Thorburn (slashing), 15:19; 5. DET, Glendening (slashing), 15:19.
SHOTS: Detroit 12, Winnipeg 10.
Far better puck possession in this period than the first frame allowed the Wings to claw back into the game with goals by Dylan Larkin and Ericsson.
Larkin made history with his even-strength tally at 6:40. The 19-year-old became the first Red Wings’ rookie to reach the 20-goal milestone since Henrik Zetterberg – who picked up a secondary assist on the goal – potted 20 in 2002-03.
Only 14 other Wings have touched 20 or more goals in their rookie campaigns. They are Steve Yzerman (39), Mike Foligno (36), Dale McCourt (33), Michel Bergeron (32), Petr Klima (32), Sergei Fedorov (31), Tom Webster (30), Marcel Dionne (28), Mark Osborne (26), Jim McFadden (24), Kelly Kisio (23), Shawn Burr (22), Murray Oliver (20) and Lane Lambert (20).
Ericsson’s goal, which skipped behind Hutchinson off the left skate of Jets defenseman Paul Postma, was the first goal scored by a Detroit D-man since Danny DeKeyser’s winner in the wild 6-5 win over Boston on Valentine’s Day.
DETROIT 2, WINNIPEG 2
SCORING: 1. DET, Larkin (Abdelkader, Zetterberg), 6:40; 2. DET, Ericsson (Kronwall, Helm), 12:25.
PENALTIES: 1. DET, Nyquist (holding), 2:13; 2. WPG, Thorburn (roughing), 9:27; 3. DET, Abdelkader (roughing), 9:27.
SHOTS: Detroit 13 (25), Winnipeg 6 (16).
Each team had a power play chance to grab a lead but neither managed to convert.
But the Red Wings finally took their first lead of the night when they capitalized on a turnover deep in the Jets zone. Justin Abdelkader was the recipient of a beautiful pass into the slot from Tomas Tatar, who picked off a Myers’ pass behind the Jets’ net.
Abdelkader then picked the top shelf over Hutchinson’s right shoulder for the eventual game winner, his fourth of the season.
Moments later, Abdelkader made his physicality known to the Jets when he pounded forward Scott Kosmachuk into the half wall. The Jets didn’t take kindly to the hit and Adam Lowry was send to the dressing room with a 10-minute misconduct.
The win gives the Wings 77 points and a four-point cushion for the Eastern Conference’s second wild card spot over idle Philadelphia, who plays at Tampa Bay Friday night.
DETROIT 3, WINNIPEG 2
SCORING: 1. DET, Abdelkader (Tatar), 15:24.
PENALTIES: 1. DET, Kronwall (tripping), 4:16; 2. WPG, Thorburn (holding), 10:09; 3. WPG, Lowry (10-minute misconduct), 17:31; 4. DET, Zetterberg (slashing), 18:15.
SHOTS: Detroit 10 (35), Winnipeg 9 (25).