Red Wings-Wild Preview
If the Detroit Red Wings are to extend their lengthy streak of postseason appearances, they likely need to start playing better on the road.
Getting good breaks like the ones they’ve gotten at home this week would help, too.
Coming off consecutive one-goal victories, the Red Wings now try to avoid a season-high fifth straight road loss Saturday in the first of a home-and-home with the Minnesota Wild.
Daniel Alfredsson scored with a fraction of a second left in overtime Thursday to give Detroit (32-24-13) its second straight victory and third in four games, 5-4 over Pittsburgh.
"We made some mistakes, they made mistakes, but we stayed with it and found a way to win a game," said coach Mike Babcock, whose team led 2-0 in the second period and 4-3 in the third. "That was a big win for us."
Alfredsson’s game-winner came off a deflection by a Penguins defenseman, two days after Toronto’s tying goal in the third period was waved off after a video review and the Red Wings won 3-2.
"You do a lot of good things, you get lucky," said Alfredsson, who has three goals and two assists in three games after going six straight without a point.
Looking to reach the postseason for the 23rd consecutive year, Detroit is ninth in the Eastern Conference but within three points of both wild-card spots.
The Red Wings have scored 3.5 goals per game during an 8-0-2 stretch at home. However, they’ve been outscored 15-5 during a four-game road skid, totaling two goals in the last three.
Detroit, which plays seven of its final 13 games away from home, is 3-8-1 in its last 12 on the road and has scored no more than one goal in half of them.
The Red Wings won their first game since defenseman Jonathan Ericsson was lost for at least four weeks with a finger injury suffered Tuesday. It’s uncertain if forward David Legwand will be disciplined by the NHL for being ejected for using the butt end of his stick to hit Pittsburgh’s Evgeni Malkin on Thursday.
Detroit has suffered two straight one-goal regulation losses at Minnesota (36-23-11), which is 7-0-3 in its last 10 home games but has suffered shootout losses in three of the past four.
The Wild own the first wild-card spot in the West despite dropping six of eight overall.
Zach Parise scored in his first game back in New Jersey against his former team Thursday, but Minnesota’s rally fell short in a 4-3 overtime loss. The Wild recorded 12 shots over the first two periods before scoring three times on 10 in the third, but dropped their fourth straight game that has gone past regulation.
"To come back in the third period down against these guys, down 2-0 and 3-1, and we were able to claw back and get a point. There is a little bit of a silver lining," Parise said. "We’ve got to turn that corner and start winning some of these games that go into extra time."
Parise is riding a six-game point streak at home and has nine goals with 10 assists in his last 16 overall. He has two of each in his last three against the Red Wings.
Alfredsson had two goals and six assists in five road games against the Wild while with Ottawa.
The teams play again Sunday night in Detroit.