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Flames-Red Wings Preview

Thursday, 03.12.2009 / 7:00 PM

Associated Press

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Flames-Red Wings Preview
Calgary Flames vs. Detroit Red Wings

DETROIT -- Detroit is back on track following its most lopsided home loss of the season. The Red Wings are now looking to maintain their home-ice dominance over a Calgary team that hasn't won at Joe Louis Arena in more than three years.

The Red Wings go for their sixth straight home victory over the Flames on Thursday night, with Calgary trying to avoid a fourth consecutive loss.

Detroit (44-15-8) closes out a three-game stretch at Joe Louis after Tuesday's 3-2 overtime victory over Phoenix. Johan Franzen scored his team-leading seventh game-winning goal of the season as the Red Wings rebounded from Saturday's 8-2 defeat to Columbus.

"We had to bounce back and play a lot better, obviously, than the last game," Franzen said. "It was a tight game and huge for us to come up with the victory."

That's all Detroit has done against Calgary on home ice of late. The Wings haven't lost to the Flames at Joe Louis since Dec. 1, 2005, and have won 10 of the last 12 home meetings. They also took all three games in Detroit during the team's first-round playoff matchup in 2007.

Franzen had two assists to help the Red Wings defeat the Flames 4-3 in overtime Dec. 10 at Joe Louis in the clubs' most recent matchup. Detroit has won both meetings with Calgary this season.

Despite two lopsided losses in their last five games, the Wings are 7-3 in their last 10 and tied with slumping San Jose for the NHL lead with 96 points. The Sharks play at St. Louis on Thursday, while East-leading Boston (95 points) hosts Ottawa the same night.

Despite its hot streak, Detroit has had problems scoring recently. Fourth-year forward Valtteri Filppula has provided some much-needed offense, recording his third goal in four games Tuesday after scoring twice during a 36-game stretch from Dec. 12-Feb. 28.

Ty Conklin should be back in goal Thursday after winning for the ninth time in 10 starts with Tuesday's 23-save effort. Conklin, 2-0-0 with a 2.42 goals-against average versus the Flames this season, is tied with Boston's Manny Fernandez for the most goal support per game in the NHL at 3.72.

Detroit averages a league-best 36.1 shots and has outshot its last 10 opponents by 10.0 per game, which should keep Calgary's Miikka Kiprusoff busy Thursday.

The Flames' veteran goalie couldn't add to his league-leading win total of 39 on Tuesday as Calgary fell 3-2 to New Jersey. Calgary's third consecutive defeat dropped it to 2-3-0 on a season-high seven-game road trip.

"This time of year you want to feel good, and play better and better, night after night," said Kiprusoff, 0-2-0 with a 4.75 GAA since going 6-0-0 with a 2.21 GAA from Feb. 19-March 5. "We've had a couple of tough games. We have to try to learn from this and get stronger next game.'

On way to do that would to be to get stronger on the power play. The Northwest Division-leading Flames (39-22-6) are 1-for-15 with the man advantage during their three-game skid, the only goal coming from Curtis Glencross in the final second of Tuesday's game.

The Flames have also allowed an NHL-high 14 short-handed goals.

Calgary might have a good chance to get its power play going against Detroit, which is among the league's worst on the penalty kill at 77.4 percent.

On Tuesday, Olli Jokinen scored his third goal in four games for Calgary since being acquired from Phoenix on March 4.

WINGS NOTEBOOK: Tonight's game is the 10th consecutive sell out at Joe Louis Arena. The Red Wings have sold-out 23 games -- 10 more than all of last season.

The average JLA attendance has been 19,828, which is 98.8 percent of capacity, and up 1,137 per game from this same point last season.

The three remaining March home dates after tonight are also close to being sell outs:

March 17, Philadelphia: less than 200 tickets left
March 27, NY Islanders: less than 500 tickets left
March 29, Nashville: less than 500 tickets left
 

2008-2009 season series
DateScoreW. Goal
Mar 23 '09DET 3 at CGY 5C. Glencross
Mar 12 '09CGY 6 at DET 5 - SOO. Jokinen
Dec 10 '08CGY 3 at DET 4 - OTN. Lidstrom
Nov 22 '08DET 5 at CGY 2J. Hudler
PlayerGPGAP+/-PIMPPGW
J. Iginla68304878+331103
M. Cammalleri67343670+026175
O. Jokinen62262147-75573
D. Langkow59192443-11243
T. Bertuzzi57152843-116564
C. Conroy6893342+192600
R. Bourque58211940+187000
D. Phaneuf6893039-89034
C. Glencross62112536+133412
D. Moss67191635-32284
M. Lombardi5092130+113002
A. Aucoin68101929-54433
J. Leopold6971421-122011
C. Sarich6821820+1310400
D. Boyd6210919-91013
M. Giordano5821719+25920
J. Lundmark134610+21000
A. Pardy501910+54700
E. Nystrom62358-38501
R. Regehr66088+146300
J. Vandermeer31044-19100
W. Primeau24044-31400
A. Roy42303-17801
B. Prust25112-47901
D. Van Der Gulik4022+1000
W. Peters8101+0200
B. Sutter4101-2200
K. Chucko2000+0200
K. Greentree2000-1000
M. Backlund1000+0000
GoalieGPRec.GASAGAASv%
M. Kiprusoff6340-17-517418382.82.905
C. McElhinney90-5-1252133.78.883
PlayerGPGAP+/-PIMPPGW
P. Datsyuk67255782+2618113
M. Hossa62342761+1755105
H. Zetterberg63273360+1024124
B. Rafalski6894453+141651
J. Hudler68203050+61662
N. Lidstrom65133548+242284
J. Franzen57271643+1040107
N. Kronwall6633841-34221
M. Samuelsson67172037+04061
D. Cleary60132336+33633
V. Filppula68102636+153400
T. Holmstrom42141731+173681
T. Kopecky6551318+13812
K. Draper6771017-113602
B. Lebda525914+74000
A. Lilja6021113+136600
K. Maltby645611-92401
B. Stuart531910+02200
V. Leino13549+5601
D. Meech34257-121200
A. Downey4112+0700
D. McCarty13101-22500
D. Helm16011-7400
J. Ericsson5011-2200
C. Chelios21000+21200
J. Abdelkader2000+0000
GoalieGPRec.GASAGAASv%
T. Conklin3624-8-2839372.45.911
C. Osgood3520-6-71129193.30.878
J. Howard10-1-04284.07.857

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