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Red Wings vs. Wild: Game Day Updates, Key Matchups

Minnesota Wild v Detroit Red Wings Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

The forward lines from today’s morning skate were as expected, and Niklas Kronwall skated with the pairs being the same, but we got an after-skate update that this isn’t how things will work tonight:

Best guess on the pairings will have Ericsson jump up to pair with Green and Ouellet slotting in next to Jensen. We did see Ericsson and Ouellet together a lot last year, but that would pair two righties and two lefties on the 2nd and 3rd pairs.

With some Swedish royalty in the house, of course:

And the power play units (Not certain whether Daley will replace Kronwall straight up on the top unit or whether Green will bump up and leave PP2 with a new QB on the back end):

From the other locker room:

The Red Wings and Wild only see each other twice a year nowadays, so there aren’t any rivalries or big-time matchups to look for. However, if the Red Wings want to get off on the right foot at Little Caesars arena, there are a few matchups they need to win if they want to start 1-0.

Key Matchups

1. The Red Wings youthful speed vs. the Wild defense

Anthony Mantha and Dylan Larkin are going to be paired together for hopefully much of the year. Both are very skilled and fast forwards the Red Wings will need to take the next step offensively this season. The Wild have a Top 5-10 defensive core in the NHL led by Ryan Suter, Jared Spurgeon and Jonas Brodin. If Mantha and Larkin are able to get past the Wild defense with possession of the puck, the Red Wings shouldn’t have trouble lighting the lamp in Game 1.

2. Trevor Daley vs. the Wild scorers

It’s more than likely Daley will see most of his playing time against the Wild’s top line of Niederreiter/Staal/Coyle. In his Red Wings debut, Daley will clearly be up against some pretty good forwards, so it will be interesting to see how he holds up as he makes his regular season debut with the Winged Wheel on his chest.

3. Kyle Quincey-Mike Reilly vs. the Red Wings

Don’t you miss Kyle Quincey? No? Neither do I. Quincey has settled in in Minnesota after splitting time last year with New Jersey and Columbus. Meanwhile, his new defensive partner, Mike Reilly, has played just 46 games in his career. With the Red Wings being at home, it will be interesting to see what line Coach Blashill decides to throw out their against such a possibly unfamiliar defensive pair.