Ducks-Red Wings Preview

The Detroit Red Wings and Anaheim Ducks battled through a

contentious seven-game series in last season’s Western Conference

semifinals. Neither team is playing like a postseason club at the


The Red Wings enter Friday night’s home game trying to avoid

their fourth loss in five games, while the Ducks have dropped five

of six.

The Red Wings (14-11-5), who scored a league-best 295 goals in

2008-09, have not had the same punch this season. Defections and a

lengthy injured list are largely to blame. Marian Hossa and Mikael

Samuelsson departed via free agency in the offseason and Jiri

Hudler left for Russia. Johan Franzen, Valtteri Filppula, Jason

Williams and defenseman Niklas Kronwall are all currently on

injured reserve.

Detroit suffered yet another blow Wednesday night when Dan

Cleary separated his shoulder during a 1-0 defeat at home to St.

Louis. The right wing, who has 16 points this season, is expected

to miss a month.

Cleary was one of 11 Detroit players with 40 or more points in

2008-09. Out of that group, only Pavel Datsyuk, Henrik Zetterberg,

Nicklas Lidstrom and Brian Rafalski are currently on the active


The Red Wings have scored one goal or none in seven of their

last 12 games.

However, Detroit enjoyed one of its best performances this

season against the Ducks (11-13-6) on Nov. 14 at Joe Louis


Zetterberg, who has a team-leading 30 points, had a hat trick

and two assists in the 7-4 victory, and Cleary added a goal and two

assists. It stands as both the Red Wings’ second-best scoring

output of the season and the most goals allowed by the Ducks in


That loss dropped the Ducks to 3-22-3 with three ties at Detroit

in regular-season play. They also dropped three of four there in

last spring’s playoff series. The Wings have won five straight

regular-season meetings with the Ducks overall.

Anaheim has also been struggling defensively lately, allowing at

least three goals in each game while losing five of six. The

conference-worst Ducks have also been outscored 29-16 during their

franchise-record eight-game road losing streak (0-5-3) – a bad omen

for a club opening a four game road trip that will play 10 of its

next 12 games away from home.

Anaheim, however, has earned at least a point in three straight

games thanks to an offensive resurgence. The Ducks have scored 11

goals – four by Joffrey Lupul – to help them post a 1-0-2 mark.

They snapped a five-game slide Tuesday night by rallying for a

4-3 overtime win over Dallas.

The Stars scored all of their goals in the first 26:20, but Dan

Sexton tied it up with two goals in the third period. Saku Koivu

buried the winning score with 47 seconds left in overtime.

“Our team has been working hard, and to be able to respond from

the three-goal deficit – especially after losing the last two games

in heartbreaking shootouts – it just says a lot about your team,”

Sexton said.

The Red Wings will try to try avoid a third straight home loss,

and their seventh in eight games at Joe Louis Arena since they last

faced the Ducks.