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New-look Ducks set to host Red Wings

by John Kreiser
RED WINGS (27-19-10) at DUCKS (26-23-7)

Last 10: Detroit 3-3-4; Anaheim 6-4-0.

Season Series: It's the last of four meetings between the teams this season. The home team has won the first three: Detroit beat the Ducks 7-4 and 3-2 in overtime at Joe Louis Arena; Anaheim beat the Wings 4-1 at the Honda Center in their last meeting on Jan. 5.

Big Story: The fans who show up at the Honda Center will see the new-look Ducks -- goaltender Jean-Sebastien Giguere is gone, replaced by Vesa Toskala as the backup to newly re-signed starter Jonas Hiller. Speedy forward Jason Blake will be making his home debut in Anaheim after coming with Toskala from Toronto in the deal for Giguere. Teemu Selanne will also be playing his first home game since breaking his jaw on Jan. 13; he returned Monday and had a goal in Anaheim's 3-0 win at Florida.

Team Scope:

Red Wings: The Wings are back in eighth place after Tuesday's 4-2 win at San Jose -- a game in which they spotted the conference-leading Sharks a 2-0 lead and then ran off four unanswered goals. They've won both visits to the Shark Tank this season -- but lost eight of 11 games in between -- much to the consternation of their coach.

"If you can do it against good teams why can't you do it every night?" Mike Babcock said. "That's what we have to talk about. We have to do better every night."

Ducks: The Ducks have big hopes for Blake, who signed in Toronto after a 40-goal season with the Islanders in 2006-07 but never got close to those numbers with the Leafs. He told the team's Web site after Tuesday's practice that he was delighted to get a fresh start with a club contending for a playoff berth.

“This is well-needed,” said Blake, who has 184 goals and 427 points in his 11-year career. “I was thrilled when I heard the news. How can you beat this, playing hockey in Southern California? It feels great.”

Who's Hot: Detroit's Henrik Zetterberg had a goal Tuesday and has 6 points in the Wings' last five games. Goaltender Jimmy Howard is 2-0-1 in his last three games and has allowed just 4 goals on 129 shots. … Ducks goaltender Jonas Hiller is coming off a shutout at Florida and has allowed just three goals in his last three starts.

Injury Report: Wings forward Tomas Holmstrom returned Tuesday after missing 13 games with a broken foot, but defenseman Niklas Kronwall went down with an ankle injury in the third period and Babcock said he won't play. … The Ducks are healthy except for forward Joffrey Lupul, who's still sidelined after back surgery.

Stat Pack: The Wings were the opponent in the Ducks' first-ever game. They won 7-2 at Anaheim and have dominated the Ducks in the regular season ever since, going 40-15-7-1.

Puck Drop: Detroit owns the final playoff spot in the West; the Ducks are five points behind and can't afford a loss -- especially against a team that will be playing the second half of a back-to-back.
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