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Red Wings-Wild Preview

Tuesday, 02.05.2008 / 7:00 PM

Associated Press

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Red Wings-Wild Preview
Detroit Red Wings vs. Minnesota Wild

ST. PAUL -- A seven-game winning streak would be the longest of the season by far for most teams. For the Red Wings, they're almost commonplace.

League-leading Detroit looks to continue its dominance of the Northwest Division-leading Minnesota Wild on Tuesday night when the teams conclude their season series at Xcel Energy Center.

While it's certainly not their ultimate goal, the Red Wings (40-10-4) are coasting toward their third Presidents' Trophy in four seasons. With 84 points in 54 games, Detroit has an opportunity to surpass the the NHL record of 132 points set by Montreal in 1976-77.

Pavel Datsyuk scored the tiebreaking goal early in the third period, and Chris Osgood made 22 saves as the Red Wings extended their streak with a 3-1 win at Boston on Saturday.

The game's key moment came early in the second period. Trailing 1-0, Detroit held the Bruins without a goal for nearly two full minutes during a two-man advantage.

"I think that definitely gave us a little bit of a lift and some energy that pushed us through the second period," Osgood said.

This is Detroit's third win streak this season of at least seven games. It won a season-high nine in a row from Oct. 18-Nov. 9, and also won seven straight from Nov. 27-Dec. 13. During their current run, the Red Wings have allowed only nine goals while averaging 34.8 shots.

The line of Datsyuk, Henrik Zetterberg and Tomas Holmstrom has been the biggest catalyst during that span, combining for eight goals and 13 assists.

Zetterberg has goals in four straight games while Datsyuk has one goal and nine assists during a six-game points streak. Zetterberg and Datsyuk are tied for the team lead and are fourth in the NHL with 65 points apiece.

With Osgood having played Saturday, Dominik Hasek is Tuesday's likely starter. The six-time Vezina Trophy winner has never lost to the Wild, going 9-0-0 with two ties, three shutouts and a 0.99 goals-against average.

The Red Wings are 2-0-1 this season against the Wild, and have won seven of the last nine meetings (7-0-2). Minnesota hasn't beaten Detroit in regulation since a 4-2 victory on Jan. 3, 2006.

Zetterberg has four goals and one assist against Minnesota (30-19-3) this season while Datsyuk has one goal and four assists.

The Wild also have been hot lately, winning three straight and seven of their last 10 games (7-3-0). Marian Gaborik scored twice and Brian Rolston ran his goals streak to five games in a 4-1 victory Saturday at Columbus.

It was the Wild's second consecutive dominating performance, following a 5-1 win over of defending champion Anaheim on Wednesday.

"We were talking about it during the break," Gaborik said. "We want to make a push. We're doing it. We played a great game against Anaheim and then a great game again tonight. We have to come back home and prove it against Detroit (on Tuesday night). Those are the challenges."

This is the third time that Rolston has goals in a career-high five consecutive games.

Pushed for the starting job recently by Josh Harding, Niklas Backstrom has responded with one of his best stretches of the season. He is 4-0-0 with a 1.50 GAA in his last four overall starts, but is 0-2-0 with a 4.44 GAA in three career appearances against Detroit.

2007-2008 season series
DateScoreW. Goal
Feb 05 '08DET 3 at MIN 2 - OTB. Lebda
Jan 10 '08MIN 6 at DET 5 - SOM. Gaborik
Dec 22 '07DET 4 at MIN 1J. Franzen
Dec 07 '07MIN 0 at DET 5H. Zetterberg
PlayerGPGAP+/-PIMPPGW
GoalieGPRec.GASAGAASv%
PlayerGPGAP+/-PIMPPGW
GoalieGPRec.GASAGAASv%

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