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.

The Calgary Flames get the honor Thursday night when they try to

become the sixth straight team to hand the Red Wings a regulation

loss at Joe Louis Arena.

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).