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At the Rink: Rangers at Red Wings

by Paul Harris

DETROIT – The Detroit Red Wings are looking to end their five-game losing streak against the New York Rangers, when the teams play Saturday night at Joe Louis Arena.

Detroit (15-6-5) most recently beat the Rangers (11-9-4) on Feb. 7, 2011, a 3-2 win at Joe Louis Arena.

"They have good depth," Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said. "They have a real nice back end and up front they have good skill and good speed, so they're a hard team for us. They're a fun team to play. It's an Original Six battle, so it'll be a lot of fun."

Three of New York's wins against Detroit during the current streak were in overtime and goalie Henrik Lundqvist had two shutouts. Lundqvist, though, won’t be playing Saturday. Backup Cam Talbot is making the start.

Lundqvist gave up five goals in the Rangers most recent game, a 6-3 loss Monday to the Tampa Bay Lightning.

The Red Wings will focus on getting their shots through to the net.

"Basically, their whole team is great at blocking shots and that's something they've taken to another level," Detroit defenseman Niklas Kronwall said. "They're a good team, they work hard and they got some really good players. We got to keep throwing pucks at the net, make it hard for [their goalie] to see the puck."

New York is in a stretch of its schedule where the team plays four games in 13 days.

“Not a lot of games in a 13-day span,” Lundqvist said. “Just make sure the games we play are good.”

He also said that playing so few games is frustrating, especially after a losing a game.

“After a loss you always want to be out there as soon as you can and play so you can get some kind of positive feeling,” Lundqvist said.

Defenseman Dan Boyle returns after missing two games because he was ill. Detroit was one of the teams from which he turned down a contract offer to sign with New York as a free agent.

The Red Wings are coming off a 5-2 win against the Dallas Stars on Tuesday.

They have won seven of their past nine and are getting consistent scoring from their top three lines.

“I looked at it today, we got 11 guys who have three points or more in their last five. In the early going when we were winning we were lucky to have three guys,” said Babcock, who is seeking his 500th win. “We’re playing a Rangers team that’s real deep and when you’re playing teams that are real deep you need a number of guys who can finish or you have no chance.”

The line of Pavel Datsyuk between Darren Helm and Tomas Tatar played especially well against Dallas. Helm had two goals, Datsyuk a goal and an assist and Tatar two assists.

“I thought [Datsyuk], [Tatar] and [Helm] were great for us last game,” Babcock said. “Now they got to do it again against a good D and a good team.”

Stephen Weiss also kept up his torrid pace against the Stars. Weiss had a goal and two assists, giving him four goals and five assists for nine points in six games since returing to the lineup after groin issues and being a healthy scratch.

He has played one game this season.

Here are the projected lineups:


Rick Nash -- Derick Brassard -- Mats Zuccarello

Chris Kreider -- Derek Stepan -- Martin St. Louis

Carl Hagelin -- Kevin Hayes -- Lee Stempniak

J.T. Miller -- Dominic Moore -- Jesper Fast

Ryan McDonagh -- Dan Girardi

Marc Staal -- Dan Boyle

Matt Hunwick -- Kevin Klein

Cam Talbot

Henrik Lundqvist

Scratched: John Moore, Anthony Duclair

Injured: Tanner Glass (mumps)


Gustav Nyquist -- Henrik Zetterberg -- Johan Franzen

Tomas Tatar -- Pavel Datsyuk -- Darren Helm

Tomas Jurco -- Riley Sheahan -- Stephen Weiss

Drew Miller -- Luke Glendening -- Joakim Andersson

Jonathan Ericsson -- Niklas Kronwall

Danny DeKeyser -- Kyle Quincey

Brendan Smith -- Jakub Kindl

Jimmy Howard

Petr Mrazek

Scratched: Daniel Cleary, Brian Lashoff

Injured: Justin Abdelkader (shoulder)

Status report: The return of Boyle allows captain Ryan McDonough to back to his natural left side with Girardi, while Boyle pairs with Marc Staal. Detroit's Jurco has been doing a good job as a net-front presence on the power play.

Who's hot: Pavel Datsyuk has six goals and two assists in his past five games. Derick Brassard has two goals and an assist in his past two games.

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