NHL

Thu, Apr 5, 2012 - 7:30 PM ET
Game Preview
 

Devils-Red Wings Preview

Share This Story

   
 

The Detroit Red Wings still are fighting for home-ice advantage in the first round of the Western Conference playoffs, and another home victory over the New Jersey Devils certainly would help their chances.

Detroit can lock up the conference's No. 4 seed with a win and a little help Thursday night when it seeks its 10th consecutive home victory over New Jersey, which looks to continue its recent surge into postseason play.

The Red Wings (48-27-5) have struggled of late, going 4-6-2 over their last 12 games and making their run at finishing in the top half of the conference playoff picture more difficult.

They rallied for a 3-2 shootout win over Central-leading St. Louis on Wednesday, though, clinching their 12th consecutive 100-point season. Detroit sits one point ahead of fifth-place Nashville and three up on sixth-place Chicago.

A Red Wings win, a Predators loss to Dallas in regulation and a Blackhawks loss of any kind to Minnesota on Thursday would guarantee Detroit home-ice advantage in the first round, which may greatly help in its quest for a long playoff run.

The Wings are 31-6-2 at Joe Louis Arena - including an NHL-record 23-game home winning streak from Nov. 5-Feb. 19 - compared to 17-21-3 on the road.

Johan Franzen scored twice Wednesday and said the comeback victory is a boost heading into the regular season's final two games.

''We've been having trouble all year with coming back,'' Franzen said. ''It's usually the team that gets the first goal that wins. Coming back late like this gives the team confidence.''

Detroit has won nine straight at home against New Jersey since a 2-0 loss on Nov. 6, 1996. A victory for the Devils would end that streak of futility while also giving them a season high-tying fifth straight win.

New Jersey (46-28-6) beat the New York Islanders 3-1 on Tuesday behind a goal and an assist from Patrik Elias and Johan Hedberg's 19 saves.

The Devils have clinched a playoff spot and likely will end up with the Eastern Conference's sixth seed, and Hedberg said the final two games will act as a tune up for the postseason.

"We don't want to let our game slip here and come into the playoffs thinking we can just turn it on. It never works that way," Hedberg said. "You have to use these games to fine tune everything and play with the urgency you want to have.

Coach Peter DeBoer, who named Martin Brodeur the starter in goal for Thursday's contest, said New Jersey won't let up despite not being able to finish any higher than fifth in the East while needing some help to do so.

''We want to take care of business, put as many points on the board as we can, and see where the cards come out for the playoffs,'' DeBoer said.

DeBoer has increased the minutes of Travis Zajac, who will be playing his sixth game since returning from an Achilles' tendon injury. Zajac scored Tuesday and said he's improving each day.

''I am getting there,'' Zajac said. "I mean I feel better every game. I feel more confident with the puck and making plays every game."

It's unclear who will start in net for Detroit after Jimmy Howard made 27 saves and three more in the shootout Wednesday. If coach Mike Babcock decides not to start Howard on back-to-back nights, backup Ty Conklin likely will be in net.

Tagged: Red Wings, Devils, Ty Conklin, Johan Franzen, Johan Hedberg, Travis Zajac

Related Stories

Member Comments

Please note by clicking on "Post comment" you acknowledge that you have read the Terms of Use and the comment you are posting is in compliance with such terms. Be Polite. Inappropriate posts may be removed by the moderator.

powered by



Play Hockey Simulation Game on WhatIfSports

NHL Videos

Toews, Kane: Easy decision to resign with Blackhawks Posted: Jul 17, 2014
Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane say their decision to sign matching 8-year, $84M...

LA mayor 'F-bombs' Kings rally Posted: Jun 17, 2014
Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti toasts the Stanley Cup champion Kings in front o...

Kings, fans celebrate Stanley Cup Posted: Jun 16, 2014
Kings players celebrate winning the Stanley Cup with a parade through downtown L...

More Than Sports on MSN

Fox Sports Store

    itemName itemURL imageSrc price itemDescription
    Reebok Sidney Crosby Pittsburgh Penguins Premier Hockey Jersey - Black http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Pittsburgh_Penguins/browse/featuredproduct/175178/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_175000/FF_175178_xl.jpg&w=100 159.95 Reebok Sidney Crosby Pittsburgh Penguins Premier Hockey Jersey - Black
    Reebok Dallas Stars White Premier Hockey Jersey http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Dallas_Stars/browse/featuredproduct/243363/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_243000/FF_243363_xl.jpg&w=100 124.95 Reebok Dallas Stars White Premier Hockey Jersey
    Reebok Tampa Bay Lightning Primary Logo T-Shirt - Royal Blue http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Tampa_Bay_Lightning/browse/featuredproduct/301017/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_301000/ff_301017_xl.jpg&w=100 19.95 Reebok Tampa Bay Lightning Primary Logo T-Shirt - Royal Blue
    Majestic Anaheim Ducks Black Official Logo Full Zip Hoodie Sweatshirt http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Anaheim_Ducks/browse/featuredproduct/398322/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_398000/FF_398322_xl.jpg&w=100 43.99 Majestic Anaheim Ducks Black Official Logo Full Zip Hoodie Sweatshirt
    Detroit Red Wings Youth Black Southpaw Backpack http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Detroit_Red_Wings/browse/featuredproduct/403205/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_403000/FF_403205_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Detroit Red Wings Youth Black Southpaw Backpack
    Reebok Chicago Blackhawks #88 Patrick Kane Red Premier Hockey Jersey http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Chicago_Blackhawks/browse/featuredproduct/408123/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_408000/FF_408123_xl.jpg&w=100 159.95 Reebok Chicago Blackhawks #88 Patrick Kane Red Premier Hockey Jersey
    Majestic New Jersey Devils Red Felt Tek Patch Pullover Hoodie Sweatshirt http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_New_Jersey_Devils/browse/featuredproduct/456774/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_456000/ff_456774_xl.jpg&w=100 47.99 Majestic New Jersey Devils Red Felt Tek Patch Pullover Hoodie Sweatshirt
    Vancouver Canucks 2011 NHL Western Conference Champions Hockey Stick http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Vancouver_Canucks/browse/featuredproduct/665779/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_665000/ff_665779_xl.jpg&w=100 11.95 Vancouver Canucks 2011 NHL Western Conference Champions Hockey Stick
    Majestic New York Islanders Royal Blue Felt Tek Patch Pullover Hoodie Sweatshirt http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_New_York_Islanders/browse/featuredproduct/752594/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_752000/ff_752594_xl.jpg&w=100 47.99 Majestic New York Islanders Royal Blue Felt Tek Patch Pullover Hoodie Sweatshirt