The Detroit Red Wings are off to their best start in six years, and Henrik Zetterberg has been leading the charge.
The Red Wings seek their sixth straight win on Sunday when they host the Carolina Hurricanes.
Detroit beat Minnesota 5-0 on Friday, earning its 20th win in its 28th game. It's the quickest the Red Wings have reached the 20-win plateau since the 2001-02 season, when they won the Presidents Trophy with the most points in the league and beat Carolina in five games to earn their last Stanley Cup title.
The Red Wings own the most points in the league this season, thanks in part to Zetterberg, who posted his second career hat trick against the Wild. Zetterberg has a point in all but two of Detroit's games and leads the team with 21 goals and 40 points.
"Your best players have got to be your best players," coach Mike Babcock told the Red Wings' official team Web site. "That's what makes you good."
Zetterberg's linemate, Pavel Datsyuk, added three assists and leads the team with 23. Datsyuk ranks second on the team with 34 points, while the third member of the line, Tomas Holmstrom, ranks third with 27 (13 goals, 14 assists).
"Them and that (Sidney) Crosby line (with Pittsburgh), they're right up there," Minnesota goalie Josh Harding said.
Goalie Dominik Hasek, who struggled early in the season, stopped 19 shots for his first shutout of the season and the 77th of his career. He has won his last two starts after dropping his previous three.
"I believe I can continue to play like this," Hasek said. "I can feel it more in my heart and my stomach. I am talking more, you can hear me on the ice. I bang my stick more on the ice and that's what I need to be doing to keep myself in the game and play on the best level."
Detroit is hosting Carolina for the first time since Jan. 31, 2004, when the teams played to a 4-4 tie. The Red Wings are 1-2-1-0 in their last four against the Hurricanes after winning the previous six regular season meetings.
The Hurricanes know they have their work cut out for them against the Red Wings, but are feeling better about their chances after Saturday's 5-1 win in Montreal. Carolina, which is wrapping up a five-game road trip, bounced back nicely after a 2-1 loss in Tampa Bay on Thursday.
"It's never a great feeling going in to face them in Detroit, regardless, but certainly the way we played tonight was much better than we did the other night in Tampa Bay," said Ray Whitney, who had two goals and an assist. "It certainly gives us something to build on going into (Sunday) knowing that we're going to have to be even better than we were tonight to be competitive with them."
The win was the second on the road trip for Carolina, which scored more than four goals for the first time since a 5-3 win in Atlanta on Nov. 10.
"They played hard tonight," Hurricanes coach Peter Laviolette said. "They were going stride for stride at the beginning. We scored a couple in the first and got a jump, but they showed up and played."
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