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Matchup: Detroit Red Wings vs. Anaheim Ducks
Venue: Honda Center; Anaheim, CA
Time: 10:00 PM EST
Television: Detroit- FS-D; Anaheim- FS-Prime Ticket; National– NHL Network
The Detroit Red Wings (14-11-5, 33 points, 7th place Western Conference) returned home from a three game road trip as winners of two in a row and feeling like they had built some momentum they could begin to carry. Any momentum that was built though was taken away when the Minnesota Wild came into Joe Louis Arena and handed the Red Wings a 4-2 loss Wednesday night. Detroit dominated the first period but found themselves on the wrong end of the score after they had an apparent goal called off due to a high stick that the ref believed he saw; replays showed the puck was batted down by a Minnesota player’s glove. They would never recover from the missed call, and possible tie, and went on to dig an even deeper hole they never found a way out of. The loss was the Red Wings fourth in the past six games (2-3-1 in that span) in a time where every point is crucial if they want to maintain their playoff spot.
After their quick return home, the Red Wings head back out west on a four game west coast road trip which begins in Anaheim against the Anaheim Ducks (22-3-4, 48 points, 2nd place Western Conference) in the first of two consecutive games against them. This is the second matchup of the season between the two clubs. The Ducks took the first matchup in convincing fashion 5-2 on February 15th at Joe Louis Arena. The story of that game was Viktor Fasth who stopped 26 of 28 shots to become the first goalie in seven years to win his first seven career starts. The Red Wings were without forwards Pavel Datsyuk and Johan Franzen that game and one has to wonder if they would of made much difference in that game. The Red Wings will be looking to extend their road powerplay streak to a goal in 4 straight games and they have a good chance of it as Anaheim is only 23rd overall in penalty kill with a 78% success rate.
Anaheim comes into the game tonight as winners of 7 of their past 10 games (7-0-3 in that span) and have earned points in their past 12 games overall. The Ducks have not lost a regulation game since February 25th. Wednesday’s latest win over the league leading Chicago Blackhawks was in come from behind fashion, when they scored three goals in the third period to win the game 4-2. The win brought the Ducks to within three points of the Blackhawks for first place in the Western Conference and the league. They will look to extend their win streak against the Red Wings to three games, dating back to last season.
The Red Wings will turn to Jimmy Howard in net for the fourth straight game and he comes in with a 7-3-1 record, 2.19 GAA, and .925 save percentage in 11 career games against the Ducks. The Red Wings hope that his excellent play against the Ducks, and his good play of late in general, will be enough to knock off the red hot Ducks and get the Wings higher in the standings once again. It could be a very tough task though, as Anaheim is 13-1-0 overall this season at home and has not lost there since their home opener on January 25th. Patrick Eaves will be back in the lineup for the Red Wings tonight. It is not known as of now who will be the scratch, Babcock said he would make his decision after the pregame warmups.
The Anaheim Ducks have a problem that most teams would gladly have. On their roster, they currently have two very good goaltenders in Jonas Hiller and Viktor Fasth. Though Hiller has gotten a majority of the starts for the Ducks recently, it is expected that Fasth will make the start tonight. This will be the second start of his career against the Red Wings, his only other coming in the 5-2 win earlier this season. The Ducks will also be getting forward Corey Perry back after he served a 4 game suspension for an illegal hit on Minnestoa’s Jason Zucker in March 12th’s 2-1 victory
Players To Watch:
- Pavel Datsyuk had his 4 game point streak snapped Wednesday night against the Wild, but is a threat to start a new one at any time. He has a good chance of beginning a new one tonight as he likes playing against the Ducks, posting 36 points (15 goals, 21 assists) in 36 career games. His 15 goals against the Ducks are his most against any out of division team he has played against.
- Johan Franzen missed the first game of the season against the Ducks and will be looking to score his first goal in six games. In his career, Franzen has collected 13 points (9 goals, 4 assists) in 22 games against the Ducks.
- Teemu Selanne is the ageless wonder for the Anaheim Ducks. At age 43, he is still going strong and being effective in the NHL collecting 19 points (7 goals, 12 assists) in 29 games. He has played very well against the Red Wings in his career posting 59 points (23 goals, 36 assists) in 67 career games.
- Ryan Getzlaf has been the star of the Anaheim Ducks this season. He currently leads the team in goals (11), assists (24), and points (35). His 35 points are 7th overall in the league and second in the Western Conference behind only Patrick Kane. In his career, Getzlaf has dominated the Red Wings by tallying 33 points (8 goals, 25 assists) in 28 games.
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