Datsyuk hopes to go wild on Minnesota
DETROIT -- Detroit's Pavel Datsyuk tied a season high with two goals in his last game. He has only two total goals in 18 career contests against the Minnesota Wild.
With the league-leading Red Wings riding a four-game winning streak, Datsyuk looks to match the longest goal-scoring run of his career when Detroit and Minnesota face each other for the first time this season Friday night.
Datsyuk capitalized on a pair of Montreal turnovers Tuesday night, converting them into two unassisted goals as Detroit (19-6-2) extended its winning streak with a 4-1 win over the Canadiens.
The six-year veteran center also extended his goal-scoring streak to five games, during which he also has three assists. The longest such streak of Datsyuk's career was a six-game run from Dec. 8-17, 2003, when he had eight goals and 13 points.
Datsyuk has 11 goals and is tied for the team lead with 20 assists this season. He has helped the Red Wings outscore opponents 16-8 during their four-game run.
Detroit may also be ready to add depth on the red line. Forwards Kirk Maltby (back) and Kris Draper (knee) were injured in Detroit's 5-3 win over Calgary on Nov. 27. Draper skated in Friday's morning skate; Maltby did not.
"We've got a good thing going here and you want to be a part of it," Draper told the Red Wings' official Web site. "The guys are playing unbelievable right now. You're obviously happy to see that, but it stings. You want to be a part of it."
Datsyuk, however, hasn't been productive against the Wild (15-10-2), finding the back of the net only twice and adding six assists in 18 games against them. Detroit has been successful in recent years against Minnesota despite Datsyuk's struggles, going 3-0-1 in 2006-07 to give it a point in six straight games (5-0-1) in this series.
Minnesota is also dealing with injury problems as it will be without center Mikko Koivu, and captain Mark Parrish may be sidelined for a fourth straight game due to a hip injury as the Wild open their season-long five-game road trip.
Koivu stayed behind to continue rehabilitating a broken bone in his left leg, which he originally injured Nov. 17. He has resumed skating, though, and is expected to join the team in San Jose on Tuesday.
Minnesota, which is 5-5-2 on the road, will be trying to bounce back after having a four-game winning streak end with a 3-1 loss to Philadelphia on Wednesday night.
The Wild were held to just one power-play goal in eight opportunities, and have converted 10.8 percent (4-for-37) of their chances with the man advantage over their last eight games.
"When you don't move, you can't get great scoring chances," Minnesota coach Jacques Lemaire said.
Marian Gaborik was able to extend his point streak to five games (three goals, five points) with an assist against the Flyers. He also has three goals and two assist during a five-game point streak versus the Red Wings.