Preview: Red Wings visit Ducks

Red Wings look to stop 2-game skid


DETROIT – The long grind of an NHL season is taking its toll on the Detroit Red Wings, who meet the Ducks in Anaheim on Wednesday.

Detroit continues to battle the injury bug and the inability to win consistently on the road – 1-5-1 in its last seven – and is in danger of losing home ice advantage for the first round of the playoffs. Anaheim has lost three in a row to fade from legitimate playoff contention.

Detroit hopes to have forwards Pavel Datsyuk (knee) and Todd Bertuzzi (groin) back, but defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom (ankle) is expected to miss his eighth straight game. Goaltender Jimmy Howard returned Tuesday and made 22 saves in Detroit's 5-2 loss at Los Angeles after missing three games with a groin injury.

Detroit is fourth in the West, two points ahead of Nashville. Earning home ice could be crucial as the Red Wings are 28-4-2 at Joe Louis Arena compared to 16-19-1 on the road. Johan Franzen scored his team-leading 26th goal Tuesday.

Anaheim was 20 points out of a playoff spot before a 17-3-4 surge from Jan. 6 through Feb. 26 shrunk the deficit to six.

The big push, though, took its toll on the Ducks, who are 2-5-1 in their last eight. Hart Trophy winner Corey Perry missed Monday's 3-2 overtime loss at Colorado with a right shoulder injury, ending his games played streak at 272. He is questionable for Wednesday.

Defenseman Luca Sbisa also missed his first game of the season Monday after suffering back spasms in the morning skate. Goaltender Jonas Hiller has made 29 straight starts.

Detroit is 5-3-0 in the second of back-to-back games and has won five straight such contests. The Red Wings prevailed 4-2 in Anaheim on Nov. 20 after winning 4-1 the night before in Los Angeles.

The Red Wings' power play is 0 for 24 in its last six games and 3 for 45 in its last 12.

The Red Wings have won all three meetings this season and six of the last seven.

-- Sports Data