Flames-Red Wings Preview
If there's nothing like skating in front of your home crowd, the next best thing might be going to Detroit.
Detroit (15-12-9) hasn't earned a point at home since Nov. 27 and is 2-8-6 in its last 16 there. The five-game regulation losing streak is its longest since 1985-86, when it had separate home skids of five and six games.
The Red Wings don't have a win of any kind in their last six, going 0-4-2. They've scored seven times in that span, losing the last three by a combined nine goals as they struggle to find an offensive-zone presence without Henrik Zetterberg, among others. Detroit's leading scorer has missed eight straight games with a herniated disc.
A 5-2 home loss to Anaheim on Tuesday furthered the futility as the Ducks closed the first period with four straight goals to build a 4-1 lead.
"Things were going pretty good for about three minutes," coach Mike Babcock said. "Obviously, it didn't go very well for us. They shot the puck in the net and we lost momentum very fast and didn't have a very good effort from that point on."
The injury report extends far beyond Zetterberg, though the Red Wings refuse to use it as an excuse.
"It's got no part of it. There's no excuse whatsoever. Injuries got nothing to do with it," defenseman Niklas Kronwall said. "We've got to get back to basics, but at the same time, enough talking, we've been talking about. It's time for us to get out there and actually show it on the ice."
Centers Darren Helm (shoulder) and Stephen Weiss (groin) are on long-term injured reserve along with defenseman Danny DeKeyser (separated shoulder). Goalie Jimmy Howard (knee) is out, forwards Johan Franzen (concussion) and Justin Abdelkader (possible concussion) have missed time, and forward Gustav Nyquist missed the Ducks game with a sore groin.
"Obviously we'd like to have all (our) guys back," Babcock told the team's official website. "But once again, like I say all the time, it's about the guys that are playing, and the guys that are playing - we can do way more with the group we have and we have to do that."
Of the injured, the Red Wings' Twitter feed reported Abdelkader and Helm practiced Wednesday.
The Flames (13-16-5) had enjoyed a 3-0-1 stretch on the road prior to a 2-0 loss at Boston on Tuesday.
For much of the season, Calgary has been a team that's struggled in the defensive zone. The Flames rank near the bottom of the NHL with 3.12 goals allowed per game, though they've given up 10 regulation goals in going 3-2-1 in their last six.
"We played pretty good, especially in the first period. We had our chances," said Reto Berra, who made 29 saves against the Bruins. "I think we fight. We try. We do everything. ... There's no other way than just keep going like that and the luck will come back on our side for sure."
Berra is 1-2-0 with a 1.67 goals-against average and .942 save percentage in his last three games, though Karri Ramo will start against Detroit. Ramo is 2-0-1 with a 1.58 GAA and .944 save percentage in his last three.
"We want to create a competition between the two," coach Bob Hartley said.
The Red Wings won 4-3 in Calgary on Nov. 1 after dropping all three meetings in 2012-13. The Flames have earned at least one point in seven of their last nine visits to Detroit (5-2-2).