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Red Wings-Jets Game Day Updates, Keys to the Game

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

Game Day Updates

Here’s the lines from practice yesterday. As always, this isn’t a guarantee:

Keys to the Game

1. Someone needs to step up

Whether it be from a goaltender having a career game, Larkin or Bertuzzi going for 2+ goals, Athanasiou breaking out of this absolutely brutal year he is having (although he is not playing tonight) or even Zadina scoring to jump start the team, someone with playmaking ability needs to take hold of the team. We have seen it before from guys. Maybe not this year, but in years past AA, Larkin, Bertuzzi, etc. all have big time games that help win games for the Red Wings. This year is a new level of suck and if someone can’t take over tonight, the losing streak could very well hit 12.

2. Stop the Jets top line

So easy, right? Well not only is it difficult for everyone in the NHL, but even more so for the Red Wings this year. Connor-Scheifele-Laine have combined for 83 points this season, that’s good for 35% of the Jets scoring. It’s tough to really find anyone who can shut down this line for the Red Wings, but guys like Green and Hronek need to be smart with how aggressive they want to play offensively, since they will probably be tasked with picking up the Jets top line. However, with it being the road game and the Jets getting last change, Paul Maurice will definitely take advantage of throwing his top line out there vs. the Wings bottom lines. So really everyone in the lineup needs to be ready.

3. Let Zadina Off His Leash

We have no way of really controlling this one as it’s up to the man behind the bench, but you can’t keep burying Zadina in the lineup with Frans Nielsen and Darren Helm. Bump him up to line 2 and let him play more than 13 minutes a night. He seems like he’s close to being here to stay, but sheltering him in his development does nothing. He’s getting 1st PP minutes which is good, and I know his 200-foot game isn’t ready to play vs. the big boys of Winnipeg, but he may be the greatest chance you have of sparking the offense. Now is the time to let him off his leash so he can start filling nets with pucks.