The Detroit Red Wings are coming off a crucial 3-2 overtime victory Thursday night over the Calgary Flames which snapped a 6-game losing streak and 5-game losing streak at Joe Louis Arena.
The win kept the Red Wings (16-12-9, 41 points) two points ahead of the Toronto Maples Leafs (18-16-3, 39 points), who they will face off with Saturday night at Toronto's Air Canada Centre.
TV: 7 p.m., CBC, NHLN, FSD
This is the first of four games between Detroit and Toronto this season. Their next meeting is the Winter Classic on Jan. 1 at the Big House in Ann Arbor.
Saturday will be the first time the organizations meet as divisional foes since the 1992-93 season when they played in the Norris Division.
Injury-riddled Red Wings get back DeKeyser
Detroit hadn't won in overtime or a shootout since Oct. 4 when they beat the Carolina Hurricanes 3-2 in overtime. Since then, it had been certain defeat for the Red Wings if the game went into extra time. Daniel Alfredsson ended that Thursday night when he ripped a shot top shelf 1:03 into overtime. The Joe Louis crowd erupted with pleasure.
The Red Wings are riddled with injuries but the good news is the team will get back defenseman Danny DeKeyser in time for the Leafs game. He hasn't played since injuring his shoulder Nov. 19 in a game against Nashville. He missed 15 games.
However, captain Henrik Zetterberg (herniated disc) is one of seven Wings still out of the lineup with an injury -- center Stephen Weiss (groin), goalie Jimmy Howard (sprained MCL), forward Johan Franzen (concussion), forward Gustav Nyquist (groin), center Darren Helm (shoulder) and forward Justin Abdelkader (concussion symptoms).
Goalie Jonas Gustavsson (9-3-2, 2.25 GAA, .920 SV%) will start between the pipes Saturday night. He made 20 saves against the Flames. Gustavsson spent three seasons with the Leafs before the Red Wings signed him from free agency.
Maple Leafs trying to get back to winning ways
The Maple Leafs were one of the hottest teams in the NHL at the start of this season going 10-4 in the first month. Things have cooled off for the team which has gone 4-5-1 in the month of December.
The Leafs bounced back from a 3-1 loss to the Florida Panthers this week by edging the Phoenix Coyotes 2-1 on Thursday, helping them avoid another 3-game skid in December.
Toronto has seen its share of injuries this season, too. Dave Bolland (severed ankle tendon), Tyler Bozak (oblique strain) and Colton Orr (elbow) all remain out of the Leafs lineup.
Right winger Phil Kessel leads the team with 32 points (17 goals, 15 assists). Goalie Jonathan Bernier has 10 wins while goalie James Reimer has 8.