Wings go for 19 in a row at home
Thursday, 02.09.2012 / 8:55 PM
DUCKS (21-24-8) at RED WINGS (36-17-2)
TV: NHLN-US (HD), NHLN-CA, PRIME (HD), FS-Detroit
LAST 10: Anaheim 7-2-1; Detroit 7-2-1
Season Series: This will be the third of four games between the Ducks and Red Wings, with Detroit taking the first two meetings by a combined score of 9-2. The Wings prevailed 4-2 on Nov. 20 at the Honda Center thanks to a pair of goals by defenseman Brad Stuart and won 5-0 on Nov. 5 at Joe Louis Arena keyed by two goals from defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom.
Big Story: The Red Wings are still winning at Joe Louis Arena after extending their franchise record home winning streak to 18 games with a 3-2 victory against the Edmonton Oilers on Wednesday night. To put that into perspective, it's been more than three months since the Wings have lost a game in the Motor City - and Anaheim should know that fact better than any other team. The Ducks were the first team to be beaten in the remarkable streak, which came on the heels of an ugly six-game winless skid that had some in Motown wondering if this was the year the Wings would finally fall from grace. Instead, the Wings are now on top of the League's standings with 73 points and appear to be legitimate contenders to win the President's Trophy for most points in the NHL standings - not to mention a serious threat to win their 12th Stanley Cup - fifth of the modern era. On the other bench, the Ducks are hot and have closed the gap between themselves and the eighth playoff spot in the Western Conference to eight points.
Ducks: Anaheim is coming 3-2 home wins against the Calgary Flames on Monday and Carolina Hurricanes on Wednesday. The Ducks downed the Flames in a shootout and then earned two points against Carolina in overtime on a goal by Corey Perry just seconds after he appeared to get away with a trip behind the Hurricanes net. It was Anaheim's third straight game that went to extra time and helped send the Ducks off on a season-long eight game road trip on a high note. Anaheim is 11-2-2 in its past 15 games and hopes to claw back into the race for the final playoff spot in the West.
"They didn't blow the whistle so you keep playing," Perry said of his overtime goal against Carolina. "We've had calls against us all year, and maybe that's a turning point for us. It was huge. You look where we are in the standings. You look at what we've done the last month. Every point counts for us. It doesn't matter who it's against or what, but we needed it for the road trip. We didn't want to go on the road trip on a losing note. Eight games is a long way, and it can make or break our season here."
Red Wings: It's starting to feel like Detroit might never lose again at home. Against the Oilers on Wednesday, they coughed up a 2-0 lead on a pair of goals by Edmonton's red-hot Sam Gagner, then came back with a late flurry to earn the win in regulation - getting goals from Drew Miller and Henrik Zetterberg in the last half of the third period. Miller tapped home a loose puck in the crease after a mad scramble in the blue paint for the eventual game-winner, which was his fourth goal in the past five games. Zetterberg's goal was his first in nine games and just his second in the last 24 contests. This game against Anaheim, however, will include the storyline of forward Tomas Holmstrom playing his 1,000th game in a Red Wings uniform - making him just the sixth player in franchise history to log that many games wearing the Winged Wheel.
"Tommy's a huge part of our team emotionally with his battle level and his grit and his determination," coach Mike Babcock said. "His attitude is infectious in the room. He's a great man, so it's good to see. Fantastic for him."
Who's Hot : Teemu Selanne has 3 goals and 2 assists in Anaheim's past five games, while goalie Jonas Hiller is 8-2-2 in his last 12 starts for the Ducks. … Aside from Miller's hot streak (4 goals in the last five games), Zetterberg and Johan Franzen both have points in three straight contests - including goals against Edmonton on Wednesday - for Detroit.
Injury Report : Anaheim backup goaltender Dan Ellis has missed 13 games with a groin injury, while Patrick Eaves (injured reserve/fractured jaw), Danny Cleary (knee) and Jimmy Howard (fractured finger) are out for Detroit.
Stat Pack: The Ducks have allowed more goals than they've scored in both the second and third period this season and are just 1-15-1 when trailing after the first period. … The Red Wings have not allowed a goal in a 5-on-3 penalty kill situation all season.
Puck Drop: Just how many goals does Holmstrom think he's had taken away as a result of his constant presence in and around goalies, providing screens?
"If you ask [Nicklas Lidstrom] it's probably 50 of his goals," Holmstrom said. "I probably have lost a lot too."