Wings host Wild looking to get back in win column
WILD (4-3-3) at RED WINGS (5-4-0)
TV: FS-North (HD), FS-Wisconsin (HD), FS-Detroit
This is already the third of four meetings this season. The teams have split the opening two games, with the Wild scoring a 1-0 victory in the most recent contest on Saturday. Backup goalie Josh Harding made 36 saves and Dany Heatley scored the lone goal midway through the first period to lift the Wild. It was Harding's first win since March 21, 2010. The Wings rallied for a 3-2 overtime victory in the earlier meeting on Oct. 15.
Detroit has lost four straight games, being outscored 16-4 in the process.
"We're not scoring easy," Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said. "We're not scoring at all. We haven't all played where we feel like we got the feel. And they're good players, they're going to get that because there's no way we can suddenly be a team that can't score. So to me, just keep working, keep doing good things and good things will happen."
Minnesota's 1-0 victory over Detroit on Saturday was its first against the Red Wings in regulation in eight games. The triumph didn't exactly solve Minnesota's biggest issue this season, however, which is goal scoring. The team is averaging a League-low 1.90 goals per game. Coach Mike Yeo believes his players have been moving away from the net while looking for a better shot.
"It's nice to get a little zone time," Yeo said. "But we have to start getting that initial movement to the net. For the guys with the puck, it's a commitment to getting pucks through to the net. And for the guys without the puck, it's an understanding that we're going to have that mentality and they should be going there."
The Red Wings have lost four in a row following a 5-0 start. It marks the first time the club has dropped four straight in regulation since Feb. 10-17, 2008. Babcock is hoping his team can begin the first of a six-game home stand on a positive note.
"We controlled everything. I don't know what else to say," Babcock said. "Just come and play like that and you're going to win lots of games. I wouldn't worry about it too much. We got to find a way to beat goaltenders, be harder at the net and get second chances. We had quite a bit of that tonight but didn't bury them."
Heatley, who works a line with center Mikko Koivu and Guillaume Latendresse, has a point in four straight games (2 goals, 2 assists) and leads the Wild with 7 points in 10 games.
Wings defensemen Mike Commodore
(sprained MCL) is cleared to play but has yet to join the lineup and forward Jan Mursak
(left ankle) is out. … Wild defensemen Greg Zanon (lower body) and Clayton Stoner (finger) are day-to-day and Mike Lundin (back) is out.
Harding, Niklas Backstrom's backup, has made only two starts for the Wild this season and both have come on home ice. He's stopped 74 of 77 shots -- halting 38 in a 3-2 overtime loss to Detroit two weeks ago.
The Red Wings have averaged just 2.44 goals per game this season. Danny Cleary
has 2 assists on the season and the trio of Valtteri Filppula
, Johan Franzen
and Jiri Hudler
has no points in four games.
"It's hard to win when you don't score," Detroit center Pavel Datsyuk
said. "I don't see any game you can win if you don't score. We can't score. This is the problem."