Wild-Red Wings Preview

Associated Press  |  Last updated October 31, 2011
The Detroit Red Wings had a better defensive performance while opening a home-and-home series against the Minnesota Wild over the weekend, but they couldn't end their scoring woes. Judging by their recent matchups with the Wild at Joe Louis Arena, the Red Wings might have a chance to break out of that slump and avoid matching their longest skid in four seasons Tuesday night. Detroit had given up 15 goals over its previous three games when it visited Minnesota on Saturday but yielded one in those 60 minutes. The Red Wings, though, failed to score for the first time this season. Backup Josh Harding stopped 36 shots during the Wild's 1-0 victory, his first of the season and fifth career shutout. Harding is expected to start again Tuesday, and will try to get some more help from young defensemen Justin Falk, Jared Spurgeon, Marco Scandella and Nate Prosser. "They looked like (veterans against Detroit), and now they have to continue to go out and do that," coach Mike Yeo said. "They've been out there in pressure-packed situations. They know they can go out, execute, play the system and do the right things." After scoring 18 goals during a 5-0-0 start, Detroit has four during its four-game losing streak. The Red Wings, though, might have a chance for a better performance Tuesday, as they've outscored Minnesota 41-20 while winning eight of the past 10 matchups at home. Detroit (5-4-0) is seeking to avoid its first five-game skid since Jan. 17-31, 2009, and getting Johan Franzen back on track might help. The winger, who hasn't recorded a point in the last four games, has six goals and two assists in his last four at home against the Wild. He has 12 goals and nine assists in his last 18 overall matchups. Franzen scored in overtime and added an assist during a 3-2 win in Minnesota on Oct. 15. The Red Wings outshot the Wild 41-14 in that game and 36-20 on Saturday. "We haven't all played where we feel like we got the feel," coach Mike Babcock said. "And they're good players, they're going to get that because there's no way we can suddenly be a team that can't score. So to me, just keep working, keep doing good things and good things will happen." Dany Heatley had the lone goal for Minnesota (4-3-3) on Saturday to extend a four-game point streak. He has five goals and an assist over his last six regular-season games against Detroit, most of which were with San Jose. Minnesota could use Heatley's help as it tries to record back-to-back wins for the first time this season and for the third time in its series with the Red Wings. The Wild have scored two goals or fewer in each of the last five matchups, going 1-2-2. Red Wings defenseman Niklas Kronwall will be around to help keep Minnesota off the scoreboard for a few more seasons after signing a seven-year extension worth $33.25 million Monday. This time, he'll try to add to the Wild's power-play struggles. Minnesota has failed to score with the man advantage in six of seven games, going 2 for 27, and is 0 for 13 in its last four against Detroit.
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