Ducks-Red Wings Preview
Plagued by lack of offense, the Detroit Red Wings are struggling - especially at Joe Louis Arena, which they once relied upon to avoid lengthy losing streaks.
They haven't been able to do so over the past 10 days, and the Wings will try to avoid their first five-game regulation home skid in almost 28 years and sixth straight loss overall when they face the red-hot Anaheim Ducks on Tuesday night.
Detroit (15-11-9) fell 3-0 to visiting Tampa Bay on Sunday after allowing all the scoring in the third period. The Wings have tallied five goals during their five-game losing streak.
Injury-riddled Detroit seems to especially be missing leading scorer Henrik Zetterberg, who sat out his seventh game in a row due to a back injury. The Wings had won four straight when he got injured - recording 18 goals in that span - and they've gone 1-4-2 since, scoring 11 times.
Zetterberg is expected to be out through at least the Christmas break.
"Again, we're making too many mistakes, too many easy mistakes," said defenseman Niklas Kronwall, who was on the ice for all three Lightning goals and is a career-worst minus-8 after a career-best plus-15 effort last season.
"I thought after two periods we didn't play great but we had a few shifts there at the end of the second, I thought we were coming, we were playing some good hockey. We got the puck deep, had some really good cycles and chances off the cycles. The third period, we were giving them way too easy goals."
Making matters worse, Detroit center Johan Franzen left in the second period after taking a glove to the face and did not return. His status for this game is uncertain.
The Wings have lost 110 man-games to injuries.
Perennially one of the toughest teams to beat at home, Detroit hasn't dropped five in a row in regulation there since a six-game skid Feb. 8-March 3, 1986.
It probably won't be easy against Anaheim (23-7-5), which has won five in a row and is 6-0-2 in its last eight. The Ducks have allowed two or fewer goals in each game of the winning streak and have the second-best record in the NHL.
They weren't dominant Sunday at home against Edmonton, but did enough for a 3-2 victory as former Oiler Dustin Penner scored the tiebreaking goal with 3:17 to play.
"We played a lot more desperate after they tied it up (midway through the third period)," Penner told the team's official website. "I think all four lines started going, especially our line. We weren't very good all game. (Ryan Getzlaf) made a good pass out to the slot for me, and it got deflected on the way up. Sometimes you need those breaks."
Getzlaf extended his official point streak to 14 games and he's recorded at least a point in 16 straight, including the two he played prior to a three-game injury absence. He has 10 goals and 13 assists in those 16 contests.
Anaheim, the only team with three five-game winning streaks this season, will be opening a four-game trip against the Eastern Conference. The Ducks snapped an eight-game skid at Detroit with a 5-2 victory Feb. 15.
The Red Wings, though, won the last two matchups with Anaheim last season by a 7-2 margin.