Season series: First of two meetings this season, with New Jersey traveling to Detroit for a rematch on Jan. 26, 2011. Patrik Elias scored in the fourth round of a shootout to lift the Devils to a 4-3 win at Prudential Center in their most recent game against the Red Wings on Dec. 5, 2009.
Big story: Since 1995, when New Jersey swept Detroit in the Stanley Cup Final, the Devils have won three championships and the Red Wings have done them one better, with four. These have been two of the most consistent franchises in the NHL over the past two decades, but right now they're at opposite ends of their respective conferences -- the Wings are first in the West, while the Devils sit a dismal 14th in the East.
Red Wings: In a spirited game against Montreal, one of its Original Six rivals, Detroit snapped a brief losing streak at Joe Louis Arena and salvaged the finale of a three-game homestand with a 4-2 win Friday. After spotting the Canadiens the game's first goal, the Red Wings got Nicklas Lidstrom's power-play goal and second-period tallies from Niklas Kronwall and Pavel Datsyuk to take control of the game.
"There was a lot of electricity in the building," Lidstrom said. "It felt just like a playoff game."
Devils: This is the start of a three-game homestand for New Jersey, which hasn't finished outside the East's top eight since 1996 but is currently double digits out of a playoff spot. The Devils got Martin Brodeur back Friday against the low-scoring Senators, but it still wasn't enough in a 3-2 defeat that was sealed when the officials ruled David Clarkson made a distinct kicking motion on what initially appeared to be the game-tying power-play goal with 3:36 remaining. Video review in Toronto upheld the call on the ice.
"They've got better cameras, I guess, than the one we saw and it must have looked like I kicked it," Clarkson said. "I can't really sit here and bash it, because I'm not that type of person, but I just thought that I shot the puck, it hit my skate and went right in the net, so it's a tough one to swallow, especially when that ties the game and we get the momentum back."
Who's hot:Johan Franzen has 3 goals and 3 assists during a five-game points streak for the Red Wings. Datsyuk has a goal and an assist in each of his last two games. … Elias has 2 goals and 2 assists in his last four games for the Devils.
Injury report: Detroit forward Mike Modano is on injured reserve following right wrist surgery. … New Jersey forwards Zach Parise (knee) and Jacob Josefson (hand) and defensemen Bryce Salvador (concussion), Anssi Salmela (knee), Mark Fraser (hand) and Matt Taormina (ankle) are on injured reserve.
Stat pack: Red Wings goalie Jimmy Howard picked up his 16th win of the season Friday, one behind the Canadiens' Carey Price. … The Devils' special teams hasn't been at fault for their last three losses -- the power play is 5-for-10 over that span and the penalty killing has been perfect in 13 shorthanded situations.
Puck drop: Brodeur got the best of Chris Osgood in last season's meeting and there's a distinct possibility that will be the matchup again Saturday. A healthy Brodeur will once again command the lion's share of the starts for New Jersey, while Detroit is nearing the end of a stretch where it plays seven games in 11 days, so Mike Babcock might choose to rest Howard on the second night of a back-to-back situation.