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Preview: Flames vs. Red Wings

by Staff Writer / Calgary Flames

The Calgary Flames were disappointed with their performance heading into a three-game road trip. Their next opponent has experienced that feeling often over the last week and a half.

The Detroit Red Wings will look to avoid their first six-game skid in four seasons by claiming their sixth consecutive win over the Flames on Thursday night.

Calgary (4-5-1) had a chance to wrap up their season-high six-game stay at home with a fourth win, but came out flat in a 5-1 defeat to Vancouver on Tuesday.

The Flames gave up three goals in the opening frame, and couldn't get on the scoreboard until the game's final minute despite a 21-7 shot advantage and six power-play chances over the final two periods.

"We've been getting better. Unfortunately, tonight was a big letdown for us," captain Jarome Iginla said.

As it tries to bounce back with its second win in four road games, Calgary will look to take advantage of Detroit's offensive woes. The Red Wings (5-4-1) have scored five goals during their 0-4-1 slump after totaling 18 during a 5-0-0 start.

Detroit hasn't lost six straight games since Feb. 7-17, 2008, a season that ended with the franchise winning its 11th Stanley Cup.

"It's just one of those things that once (the goals) come, they're going to come in bunches," goaltender Jimmy Howard said. "We've just got to keep at it out there and continue to get pucks on net. Eventually, they'll start going in for us."

Despite those scoring struggles, Detroit had a chance to end its slump Tuesday when it carried a one-goal lead into the final minutes against Minnesota. The Wild, though, managed to send the game into overtime, where they claimed a 2-1 win.

The Red Wings gave Minnesota eight chances to score with a man advantage during the opener of a six-game homestand, and the only penalty they couldn't kill off led to the winning goal.

"You can't continue to go to the penalty box," coach Mike Babcock said. "Whether you like what the referee called or didn't call or the lack of calls, you've got to take responsibility for what you do on the ice."

Detroit has allowed three power-play goals in 24 chances during its win streak over Calgary, and those successful penalty kills have allowed the Red Wings to prevail by one goal or in a shootout in four of those contests.

They've also rallied in each of those five meetings, overcoming a 3-1 deficit for a 5-4 overtime win during the previous matchup at Joe Louis Arena on Nov. 21. Henrik Zetterberg scored two of his team's three third-period goals, including the tying one with 3.2 seconds left.

Zetterberg has scored three times during Detroit's win streak over Calgary, while Pavel Datsyuk has a team-best seven points. Datsyuk, though, hasn't scored a goal during his team's losing streak, while Zetterberg has one over his last eight.

After a scare Tuesday, it appears the Red Wings will have Niklas Kronwall available to try to slow Iginla - who has three goals and two assists in his past two matchups with Detroit - and the rest of the Flames' attack.

The defenseman, who signed a seven-year extension worth $33.25 million on Monday, took a hard hit from Minnesota's Mikko Koivu just before the Wild center set up Devin Setoguchi's winning goal.

Kronwall told the team's official website that he "felt fine" as soon as he got off the ice.

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