The Wild Beat
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DETROIT – What’s at stake for the Wild isn’t the same for the team it’ll share the ice with Thursday night.

While the Wild is battling for a playoff spot, sitting three shy of the second wildcard berth in the Western Conference, the Red Wings are already mathematically eliminated from contention. They’re last in the NHL with just 34 points.

Not letting its urgency dip against a squad that doesn’t have much to salvage this season is the challenge that faces the Wild.

“The important part for us is we have something to play for and a lot to play for,” interim coach Dean Evason said. “That’s what we’re concentrating on each and every night. It’s how we play. It’s not necessarily where or who we play. It’s how the Minnesota Wild play.”

This is the start of a two-game road trip on back-to-back nights; after playing Detroit, the Wild will be in action Friday in Columbus.

Earlier this week, the Wild hosted the Blue Jackets at Xcel Energy Center and narrowly eked out a 5-4 win. The Wild is expected to use the same lineup Thursday.

“For us, it’s a must two points,” goalie Alex Stalock said. “Obviously, for them they’re working for jobs. … We gotta play our game. We come in and play our game and work hard, we’re going to give ourselves a good chance tonight.”

Projected lineup:

Gerald Mayhew-Eric Staal-Kevin Fiala

Marcus Foligno-Alex Galchenyuk-Mats Zuccarello

Zach Parise-Joel Eriksson Ek-Jordan Greenway

Ryan Donato-Mikko Koivu-Ryan Hartman

Ryan Suter-Jared Spurgeon

Jonas Brodin-Matt Dumba

Brad Hunt-Greg Pateryn

Alex Stalock

Key numbers:

8-4-3: Run for the Wild in its last 15 matchups vs. Detroit.

11-7-2: Showing for the Wild during its last 20 road contests.

4-1-1: Record for the Wild in the first game of a back-to-back.

23: Points for winger Zach Parise in 20 career games against the Red Wings.

9: Multi-point games this season for winger Kevin Fiala.

About the Red Wings:

This has been an extremely tough season for the Red Wings. With just 15 wins and only 34 points, they’re stuck in last place in the NHL; the 30th-place Kings have 18 more points than Detroit. And the team’s maneuvering at the trade deadline earlier this week reflected this ranking. The Red Wings traded away defenseman Mike Green and forwards Andreas Athanasiou and Ryan Kuffner. Detroit also claimed forward Dmytro Timashov off waivers and acquired forward Sam Gagner along with draft picks and the contract of injured forward Kyle Brodziak.