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Flyers try to end 22-year drought in Detroit

by John Kreiser /

FLYERS (23-10-5) at RED WINGS (24-9-5)

TV -- NHLN-CANADA (HD); CSN-Philadelphia (HD); FSN-Detroit (HD)

Last 10 -- Philadelphia 6-3-1; Detroit 5-3-2

Season series -- It's the only meeting of the season between two of the NHL's top teams. Philadelphia won 4-3 at home on April 4 in the only meeting of 2009-10.

Big story -- Both teams are hoping to start the new year better than they ended the old one. The Flyers are playing their fourth game in six nights after stops in Vancouver, L.A. and Anaheim, where they lost 5-2 on Friday. The Wings, who swept road games at Minnesota, Colorado and Dallas in the first four days after Christmas, came home Friday and somehow lost 4-3 in overtime to the lowly New York Islanders.

Team Scope:

Philadelphia -- The Flyers' defense is springing leaks. Philadelphia has lost three of four, including the stops at Vancouver and Anaheim on this trip, and has allowed 20 goals in those four games. Coach Peter Laviolette wasn't remotely pleased with his team's performance in the 5-2 loss at Anaheim on Friday.

"I don't like the way we played," Laviolette said. "The second period was nonchalant and flat for us."

Red Wings -- Laviolette's counterpart, Mike Babcock, wasn't singing any hosannas to his team after they found a way to lose to the Islanders despite outshooting the League's 29th-place team 41-23.

"We came out and had the puck a lot of the night; they won three faceoffs in our zone and, whether they be seeing-eye pucks or whatever, they found a way to score on those opportunities," Babcock said. "Any way you look at it, they came in, worked hard, they got back, their goaltender was first star."

Who's hot -- Philadelphia's Jeff Carter has 3 goals and 5 points in the first three games of the Flyers' trip. Detroit's Henrik Zetterberg has 3 goals and 7 assists during a six-game points streak .

Injury report -- The Flyers are healthy except for defenseman Chris Pronger, who's recuperating from foot surgery. … Detroit forward Patrick Eaves missed Friday's game with an elbow injury and is expected to sit out this game as well. Henrik Zetterberg has been nursing a bad back but is expected to play. The Wings are still without center Pavel Datsyuk (broken hand) and forward Danny Cleary (broken ankle).

Stat pack -- Winning at Joe Louis Arena is a distant memory for the Flyers. They are 0-13-1 with two ties at The Joe in their last 16 regular-season visits since a 4-3 win on Nov. 4, 1988 -- and lost both games during the 1997 Final. They haven't scored more than three goals in Detroit in their last 14 visits.

Puck drop -- The Flyers will be glad to be going home for a few days after one of the toughest six-day stretches any team faces this season. They have three days off, then take a bus ride to New Jersey on Thursday and host the Devils on Saturday. The Wings, for whom this is the fifth game in eight days, head out for a week in Western Canada.

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