The Minnesota Wild are going into tonight’s game with a winning streak for the first time this season. Their recent play has been reminiscent of the 2021-22 team that broke team records for wins and most points in a single season, helping to quell the fears that rose from three losses in a row to start the 2022-23 campaign.
They will be going up against a team in the Detroit Red Wings that has been headed in the opposite direction, as they are currently on a two-game losing streak. The Red Wings have allowed 11 goals against during their losing streak and have been struggling on the offensive end after a strong start to the season. This is a team that is looking to take the next step in their progression to becoming a playoff team, so expect them to come out determined and ready to turn their recent play around.
Wild Projected Lineup
With the wins rolling and the Wild looking like themselves again, it would be a surprise if there were any changes to the lines from the previous game.
Kirill Kaprizov – Freddy Gaudreau – Mats Zuccarello
Marcus Foligno – Marco Rossi – Matt Boldy
Brandon Duhaime – Joel Eriksson Ek – Ryan Hartman
Mason Shaw – Sam Steel – Connor Dewar
Jacob Middleton – Jared Spurgeon
Jonas Brodin – Calen Addison
Jon Merrill – Matt Dumba
Filip Gustavsson – Marc-Andre Fleury
The good news for the Wild is that they finally have some consistency in their lines after a couple of games of good play, allowing players to develop some momentum, especially on the defensive side of things. The bad news for two players in particular, Tyson Jost and Matt Dumba, is that they have found this new consistency by lowering the amount they play, or in Jost’s case, scratching him completely. If things continue to head in a positive direction for the Wild, it will be hard to justify keeping their combined $8 million cap hit on the team, meaning some trades may be imminent.
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For the second time this season, Gustavsson will be starting in net for the Wild. They face a back-to-back tonight and tomorrow night and while most thought they would play him against the Chicago Blackhawks tomorrow night, they are likely betting that Fleury will have a better performance against his old team, leaving it up to Gustavsson to carry on the win streak tonight.
Red Wings Projected Lineup
With the loss to the Boston Bruins on Oct. 27 and a two-game suspension for Michael Rasmussen, the Red Wings have had to make a couple changes to their lines for the game against the Wild.
Dominik Kubalik – Dylan Larkin – David Perron
Filip Zadina – Andrew Copp – Lucas Raymond
Elmer Soderblom – Joe Veleno – Adam Erne
Givani Smith – Pius Suter – Matt Luff
Ben Chiarot – Moritz Seider
Olli Maatta – Filip Hronek
Robert Hagg – Gustav Lindstrom
Ville Husso – Alex Nedeljkovic
The young star Raymond will find himself on the second line tonight with Copp and Zadina. Veleno has dropped down to third-line center from the second-line wing position he occupied previously, while the first line continues to be loaded with some of their most potent offensive talents in Kubalik and Larkin, both of whom are over a point per game so far this season.
Key Players to Watch
Minnesota Wild – Kirill Kaprizov
The 2021 Calder winner Kirill Kaprizov is off to an impressive start this season, already accumulating an even five goals and five assists in seven games. His dominance of the game has developed even further as he controls play from the wing, which is something rarely seen done. Even with a revolving door of players centering his line with Zuccarello, including Hartman, Gaudreau, and Jost, his production has remained consistent as he tops the Wild in time on ice for forwards (21.6 minutes/game), Corsi for percentage (69.81 percent), and expected goals-for percentage (72.83 percent).
In the 2021-22 season, Hartman did a solid job at centering the Wild’s top line, but it was always Kaprizov that was the driving force. He is showing this year that really no matter who slots in with him and his playmaking partner in Zuccarello, he can still be a game-changing player. It leaves the question of if the Wild were able to find a true first-line center, just how good could that top-line be?
Detroit Red Wings – Moritz Seider
The 2022 Calder winner is off to a slower start points-wise in 2022-23 with only one assist in his seven games so far; however, it is obvious that the Red Wings are confident in his defensive abilities as he has the highest time on ice of the entire team. Averaging over 21 minutes a game, Seider is constantly against the opponent’s best and is already filling the role of a number one defenseman in the NHL. With a season high of almost 26 minutes in the game against the Chicago Blackhawks on Oct. 21, it is easy to see how quickly Seider’s game is developing. The Wild will have a tough time getting through the large-bodied German.