Flames-Red Wings Preview
The Detroit Red Wings have cooled off following a hot stretch - a fate the Calgary Flames are looking to avoid.
After coach Jeff Blashill declared himself "embarrassed" following the Red Wings' latest performance, they may need to overcome a pair of absences in an effort to end a three-game slide Sunday night against the Flames.
Detroit (16-9-7) has followed an 8-0-4 stretch by going 0-1-2 - each game decided by one goal - after falling 4-3 to Vancouver in a seven-round shootout Friday. However, the scoreline was rather flattering since the Red wings were outshot 27-10 through the first two periods and 40-28 overall.
"I was embarrassed at the job I did to get our team ready to go out and play. It's unacceptable," Blashill told the team's official website. "There's no question about it. Now with that said, I have unbelievable belief in this group as people and as winners. So I believe that we're going to be totally ready to play (Sunday)."
That may not be the case for center Henrik Zetterberg (lower body) and defenseman Jonathan Ericsson (upper body), who were injured against the Canucks. Zetterberg was reportedly limited at practice Saturday, while Ericsson didn't participate.
"He might be out," Blashill said of Ericsson. "Right now it's day to day but it might change. I think those things change depending on how he reacts."
Zetterberg leads the Wings with 25 points and has recorded six in the last four meetings with the Flames (15-15-2).
Justin Abdelkader has four goals and two assists over his last four versus Calgary after getting two points over his first 12. The left wing has no points in the last three overall after collecting five goals and one assist in the previous five.
The Flames ended a season-high seven-game winning streak Saturday, giving up the first three goals in a 3-2 defeat at St. Louis.
"The positive is we've won seven in a row before and lost one game," said captain Mark Giordano, who netted his seventh goal. "Now we have an opportunity (Sunday) to finish three-and-one on this road trip, which is a big road trip for us. We've got to come out ready to play, better off the hop. It starts with me."
Calgary's power play has been a problem all season, ranking last in the NHL with a 10.3 percent success rate. The unit has failed to score on 49 of 51 chances over the last 15 games, including all 16 over the past five.
"We're going to keep working at it," coach Bob Hartley said. "The power play is a big part of the team success. The guys are trying their best, but right now it's just not working. We're getting chances. I'd like to see a little bit more net-front presence. I think we're moving the puck better."
Sean Monahan is tied with Johnny Gaudreau for the team lead with 12 goals after finding the net once in each of the last two games. Monahan has 10 points in the last eight games, while Gaudreau has seven goals and five assists over that span despite being held off the score sheet Saturday.
They've combined for six assists while the Flames have won the last two matchups with Detroit. Two of those came when they set up Giordano's overtime goal in a 3-2 win Oct. 23.