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New York Islanders vs. Detroit Red Wings [Game 45 thread]

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As far as bounce-backs, this is not a high bar. But it must be cleared.

New York Islanders v Detroit Red Wings
Speedster.
Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

The New York Islanders are a pretty good team that sometimes — particularly lately — has trouble finishing, and the Detroit Red Wings are a pretty bad team that seems to have every possible thing go awry this season.

With the Islanders coming off a humbling thumping last night by a rival they’d beaten more often than not in recent years, they need a bounce back tonight. The Red Wings would seem to be the perfect foil.

Insert your “It’s a TRAP” memes here.

The Red Wings are at the bottom of the league by a clear 12 points. That’s like, *early 1980s-bad.

(For you young’ns, there was a bemusing irony when the Wings started branding themselves as HOCKEYTOWN and plastered that phrase at center ice. This happened once they got good again in the ‘90s, aided by ex-Islanders exec Jimmy Devellano, and their fans — many transplants and escapees — filled not only Detroit’s building but several other arenas as visitors. But people who remember the miserable Red Wings squads and shocking attendance of the early ‘80s knew. We knew: Hockey teams draw well and create buzz when they’re good, and create depression and attendance vacuums when they’re soul-suckingly bad. That’s just how it goes. The rest is just typical sports tribalism. #notallfanbases)

For Detroit, Jimmy Howard has been struggling mightily, to the point he is only lightly used lately. To the point you’re getting quotes like “I know I can do it.” He’ll be in net tonight against the Island That Couldn’t Shoot Straight.

Barry Trotz confirmed this morning that Casey Cizikas, who I — in a fit of “BUT HE’S A WARRIOR” mythology — figured would play last night, will in fact miss his second game in a row after taking a puck to the right there.

Otherwise, we know Thomas Greiss will be in net for the second half of this back-to-back. We don’t know if either of the other two lineup swap possibilities will happen.

Check out the expected Red Wings lineup at Winging It In Motown — including confirmation that ol’ friend Frans Nielsen will play at his old backhanding ground.