Minnesota Wild Gameday Preview: Detroit Red Wings – 12/14/22

After winning their last two games, the Minnesota Wild are attempting to push their streak to three tonight in their second meeting with the Detroit Red Wings this season. The first meeting was a loss way back on Oct. 29, and the Wild have come a long way in finding their identity since then. Managing wins in eight of their last 11 games, the Wild’s battle for third in the Central Division with the Colorado Avalanche (not active tonight) has them each with 32 points and slowly creeping away from the Nashville Predators and St. Louis Blues, who are both stuck at only 27. A win tonight would also move the Wild into the top half of the league standings for the first time this season.

Minnesota Wild Gameday Preview Kirill Kaprizov, Matthew Boldy, Jared Spurgeon, and Marc-Andre Fleury
Kirill Kaprizov, Matthew Boldy, Jared Spurgeon, and Marc-Andre Fleury (The Hockey Writers)

The Red Wings have been trending in the wrong direction lately as they are currently on their second three-game losing streak in the last eight games. To make matters worse, they appear to have lost their current points leader and captain Dylan Larkin after he took a shot to the hand in their last game against the Carolina Hurricanes on Dec. 13. No doubt they will come at the Wild hungry to turn their luck around, as they have fallen out of the playoff race in a very competitive Atlantic Division.

Wild Projected Lineup

Kirill Kaprizov – Sam Steel – Mats Zuccarello
Jordan Greenway – Joel Eriksson Ek – Marcus Foligno
Matt Boldy – Frederick Gaudreau – Sammy Walker
Mason Shaw – Connor Dewar – Ryan Reeves

Jacob Middleton – Jared Spurgeon
Jonas Brodin – Matt Dumba
Jon Merrill – Calen Addison

Filip Gustavsson – Marc Andre Fleury

Related: 10 Wild Prospects You Need to Watch in 2022-23

Red Wings Projected Lineup

David Perron – Pius Suter – Lucas Raymond
Oskar Sundqvist – Michael Ramussen – Dominik Kubalik
Adam Erne – Andrew Copp – Elmer Soderblom
Jonatan Berggren – Joe Veleno – Austin Czarnik

Ben Chiarot – Moritz Seider
Jake Walman – Filip Hronek
Jordan Oesterle – Gustav Lindstrom

Alex Nedeljkovic – Ville Husso

3 Keys to the Game

Match Early Game Pace

The Red Wings are on the second half of a back-to-back after a tight game against the Hurricanes in Detroit. They will inevitably come out of the gates hard and look to put themselves up early in the game before tired legs drop their level of play.

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The Wild will need to match that pace to keep up with the Red Wings early, if they make them work for every entry and play hard in the offensive zone, they should be able to wear them down, providing them with a much better chance of being able to control play in the second and third periods where they can do some damage.

Winning the Goaltending Battle

The Wild are starting to show more confidence in backup goaltender Filip Gustavsson as he gets the nod as the starter tonight. In the last 30 days, among goalies with more than two starts, he has the sixth-lowest goal-against average (2.16) in the NHL, is top 10 in save percentage (.926) and has the fifth-highest high-danger save percentage (.892). Comparatively, the Red Wings’ likely starter in Nedeljkovic only has three games played over that time span. During those games, he has allowed over a goal and a half more per game (3.52) and has not had a game he started in which he was above a .900 save percentage.

Continue Complete Control

A 2-1 win usually doesn’t indicate a game in which one team controlled the play, but that is exactly what happened in the Wild’s match against the Oilers on Dec.12. At five-on-five the Wild had the upper hand in shots (24-14), Fenwick-for percentage (63.71%), high-danger chances for (73.33%), and expected goals for (70.67%). Perhaps even more importantly they held Connor McDavid to a single point on only three shots and Leon Draisaitl to a single shot on net. If they can roll that kind of dominant play forward to tonight’s game, they should have no issues extending their win streak.

Tonight’s matchup can be found on TNT, Bally Sports North and KFan 100.3FM beginning at 6:30 CT.

*Player statistics collected from Naturalstattrick.comRed Wings lines from dailyfaceoff.com via @m_bultman on Twitter, and Minnesota Wild lines from @Jessi_pierce on Twitter.

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