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4:30 PM PT5:30 PM MT6:30 PM CT7:30 PM ET23:30 GMT7:30 4:30 PM MST6:30 PM EST3:30 UAE (+1)19:30 ETNaN:� BRT, October 5, 2017
Little Caesars Arena, Detroit, Michigan  Attendance: 19,515

Mostly unchanged Red Wings open vs. Wild in new arena

Minnesota Wild at Detroit Red Wings

  1. The Red Wings finished with 79 points and out of the playoffs last season for the first time since 1990. Detroit's 36 losses were its most since dropping 38 in 1991.
  2. The Wild set franchise records with 49 wins and 106 points in 2016-17. Minnesota also set a record with 263 goals, finishing second in the NHL behind Pittsburgh with 278.
  3. Henrik Zetterberg led the Red Wings with 51 assists and 68 points a season ago. It was the sixth time Zetterberg has led Detroit in scoring, fourth most in club history behind Gordie Howe (20), Steve Yzerman (11), and Pavel Datsyuk (7).
  4. Eric Staal was the Wild's leading goal scorer last year, tallying 28 while skating in all 82 games. Since 2003-04, Staal's 1011 games played ranks third among active players behind only Patrick Marleau (1015) and Joe Thornton (1014).
  5. Riley Sheahan finished last season with a team-worst -29 rating. It was the worst rating for a Red Wings player since seven different players had a -29 rating or worse in 1985-86.
  6. Devan Dubnyk ranked fourth in the NHL last season with 40 wins, the first goalie in Wild franchise history to win 40 games. Dubnyk is the only goalie in the league with at least five shutouts in each of the last three seasons.

DETROIT -- After the Detroit Red Wings missed the playoffs last season for the first time since 1989-90, one might have expected major changes before the 2017-18 campaign.

Instead, the Wings opted to go with just minor tweaks, insisting that last season was just a blip on the radar and not an indication of an emerging downward trend.

"We definitely feel we have the talent in here," Detroit forward Frans Nielsen said. "There is some really high-end talent. We just have to all come together."

When the Wings open the brand new Little Caesars Arena on Thursday playing host to the Minnesota Wild, just three players will be on the roster who didn't play for the team last season -- defenseman Trevor Daley and forward/defenseman Luke Witkowski, both free-agent additions, and forward Martin Frk, who led Detroit's AHL Calder Cup champion Grand Rapids Griffins with 27 goals last season.

"We pretty much have the same team as last year," Detroit defenseman Jonathan Ericsson said. "There's not many additions or changes."

Ericsson believes a turnaround for the Wings will come from changing their approach, as opposed to changing their personnel.

"We've got to find that feeling where we know we can win every game, even when we're down a goal," Ericsson said.

The Wings were 4-12 last season in one-goal games.

"Last year, it was like you kind of knew in the third period that we were going to lose the lead," he said.

Missing in action will be restricted free agent forward Andreas Athanasiou, holding out in a contract dispute. He was second on the team last season with 18 goals.

His absence opened the door for Frk. The Wings are hopeful Frk's booming slapshot will help spark a moribund power play that ended up 27th overall last season at 15.1 percent.

Detroit will also need to adapt quickly to its new rink. The Wings were a mediocre 17-17-7 in their farewell season at Joe Louis Arena.

"We need to hold ourselves accountable for last season and make sure we're doing the right things to put ourselves in a good spot at the end of the year," Detroit defenseman Mike Green said.

The Wild will also be coming into the season off a disappointing 2016-17 campaign, but it was another quick postseason exit, a first-round loss to the St. Louis Blues that left a bitter taste, and not the regular season, which saw Minnesota finish second in the Central Division with 106 points.

They will be missing forward Zach Parise, who is recovering from a back injury. He's expected to be out the first two games of the season. On Wednesday, the Wild signed veteran forward Daniel Winnik, who'd been in camp on a pro tryout.

Other new faces include forwards Tyler Ennis and Marcus Foligno, acquired in a trade with the Buffalo Sabres, as well as free agent forward Matt Cullen, signed after winning the Stanley Cup last spring with the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Wild coach Bruce Boudreau anticipates that the Wings will be a fired-up bunch.

"Anytime you open a new building with the history they have, the team is going to be jacked up pretty high, so we better be ready from the get-go," Boudreau told the Minneapolis Star Tribune. "They'll be ready to play, and we better be ready as well."

Updated October 4, 2017

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