Ducks-Red Wings Preview

Associated Press  |  Last updated November 04, 2011
Mired in their worst losing streak in four seasons, the Detroit Red Wings may get just what they need with a home game against the struggling Anaheim Ducks. After all, facing the Ducks at Joe Louis Arena has almost always led to a win in the past. The Red Wings try to avoid losing seven straight for the first time in two decades and continue their home dominance over Anaheim on Saturday night. After opening with five consecutive wins for the first time since 1972-73, Detroit (5-5-1) has found itself on the losing end of each game since. An inability to score has been the biggest reason for the slide, managing six goals in the six losses. The Red Wings are last in the Western Conference with 24 goals after winning the Central Division last season with 261, one fewer than Vancouver for most in the NHL. Danny Cleary scored Detroit's lone goal in Thursday's 4-1 loss to Calgary, his first of the season after setting a career high with 26 in 2010-11. "Obviously, we're struggling offensively. That's an understatement for us," Cleary said. "So we've got to find a way to grind out a game until we get our groove going." The Red Wings' scoring woes aren't from a lack of chances. Detroit is averaging 35.2 shots per game, one of the league's best marks, and Thursday's 29-shot effort was the first time it was held under 31. "When you keep losing, losing, losing, you're making changes, changes, changes instead of, keep it simple and believe in yourself and do what you've been doing all these years," said forward Henrik Zetterberg, held to one goal in his last nine games. The Red Wings haven't had a seven-game losing streak since Jan. 14-30, 1991. They still made the playoffs that season, beginning their current run of 20 consecutive postseason appearances. Detroit, though, has had no trouble scoring and beating Anaheim (5-5-3) at home. The Red Wings are averaging 4.3 goals during a six-game home winning streak over the Ducks and have won 22 of 24 meetings in Detroit. They are 28-3-0 with three ties all-time at home in the series. Detroit's Johan Franzen, who has a team-high four goals but none during the skid, has scored in five straight home games versus Anaheim. Pavel Datsyuk, the Red Wings' leader with eight points, has a nine-game home point streak against the Ducks, tallying six goals and five assists. Like Detroit, Anaheim had a fast start before cooling off considerably. The Ducks opened the season winning four of five but are 1-4-3 since. They've had several close calls during that stretch, however, with four defeats coming by a single goal. At Madison Square Garden on Thursday, Anaheim and the Rangers were tied at 1 after two periods. The Ducks outshot New York 15-4 in the third but failed to score and went on to lose 2-1 in a shootout. "When you see points slip away and you let games get away when you could have been the difference, it's extremely frustrating," said Bobby Ryan, who scored his fifth goal to tie Corey Perry and Teemu Selanne for the team lead. Jonas Hiller stopped 24 shots Thursday, dropping to 1-3-3 with a 3.16 goals-against average since Oct. 21. He is 0-3-0 with a 4.81 GAA at Joe Louis Arena. Detroit's Jimmy Howard, who has a 2.26 GAA in losing his last four starts, was in net for all four games against the Ducks last season, going 3-0-1 with a 1.49 GAA and two shutouts. He has a 2.50 GAA in winning four career home starts versus Anaheim.
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