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Jets at Red Wings: Gameday Updates, Keys to the Game

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NHL: Winnipeg Jets at Detroit Red Wings Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Interesting updates out of the morning skate today:

The diggers have confirmed that Kronwall says he’s playing tonight, so Ouellet and Sproul are the odd-men out. In bookkeeping news, this means that Kronwall’s activation from IR makes him the 23rd man on the roster, but doesn’t change the cap situation because he was never on LTIR to begin with.

Line Combinations

Forwards

Dylan Larkin Frans Nielsen Gustav Nyquist
Tomas Tatar Henrik Zetterberg Justin Abdelkader
Andreas Athanasiou Darren Helm Riley Sheahan
Steve Ott Luke Glendening Drew Miller


Defensemen

Danny DeKeyser Mike Green
Jonathan Ericsson Alexey Marchenko
Brendan Smith Niklas Kronwall


Goaltenders

Petr Mrazek (starting)
Jimmy Howard

Power Play Units:

  1. Tatar-Zetterberg-Nyquist, Kronwall, Green
  2. Athanasiou-Nielsen-Larkin, Abdelkader (net front), Smith

Jets Line Combinations

Forwards

Nikolaj Ehlers Mark Scheifele Blake Wheeler
Patrik Laine Adam Lowry Joel Armia
Brandon Tanev Mathieu Perreault Kyle Connor
Alexander Burmistrov Andrew Copp Marko Dano


Defensemen

Josh Morrissey Dustin Byfuglien
Toby Enstrom Paul Postma
Julian Melchiori Ben Chiarot


Goaltenders

Connor Hellebuyck (starting)
Michael Hutchinson

Keys to the Game

Start strong, finish stronger

As I mentioned in the Morning Skate, the Wings have the advantage of rest over the Jets. Their late push against Washington last night will likely give them energy out of the starting gate, but travel and fatigue should take over as the game wears on. Strike early and often to snuff out the initial fire, and stifle any sparks by not sitting on the lead. Skate to throat, boys.

Play to the speed of the kids

The Wings showcased their fastest skaters early in Philadelphia as Larkin and Athanasiou scored 16 seconds apart in the first period. Their ability to fly on the ice grants them scoring chances other players aren’t and can draw penalties the slower guys can’t sell. I know Double-A still isn’t getting the usage we’d like, but his teammates should be trying to capitalize on the time he’s actually on the ice, especially since between him and his linemates, he’s the only one scoring right now.

Cut the dumb stuff

Right here I’m talking about doing the following: taking penalties while you’re on the power play, taking penalties while on the penalty kill, shoving people into your goaltender and getting scored on, etc. The three specifics I mentioned are too often from careless stickwork or being aggressive at the wrong time, but it’s also the face-palmingly stupid Too Many Men minors or the AutoDOG that always seems to put you on a 3-on-5. It’s the retaliatory slashes that will always be seen by the referees. It’s the pointless fights that only serve to shorten your bench rather than change momentum. I’m not overly worried about the Jets’ capitalizing in these situations due to their power play sitting nearly last in the league, but when you’re just handing them opportunities on silver platters or cancelling out your own, it’s hard to build and maintain momentum and confidence. Both of those are really needed in Detroit if they want to keep pace in their division.

Fun Facts!

  • The Red Wings are 12-6-2 (W-L-OTL) all-time in the regular season against the Thrashers/Jets franchise.
  • Petr Mrazek is 2-0-0 in three career games against the Jets, with a .925 SV% and 2.02 GAA.
  • Jets fans were once awarded the third star of the game, which jumps them several spots higher on my list of insufferable fanbases.