Detroit Red Wings star Henrik Zetterberg has had trouble scoring after a torrid start. Perhaps a matchup with the Anaheim Ducks can end his funk.
After having a six-game winning streak come to an end, the Red Wings hope Zetterberg has more success against the Ducks when the teams continue their season series Wednesday night.
Central Division-leading Detroit (29-7-6) is coming off one of its worst defensive games of the season, losing 5-4 in overtime at Dallas Monday. It was the Red Wings' first defeat since losing 4-3 in a shootout with Colorado on Dec. 27.
Lack of scoring wasn't the problem for Detroit, which made do even though Zetterberg was held off the scoresheet. He had a five-game point streak (two goals, six assists) end, but he failed to find the back of the net for the 11th time in 13 games.
The veteran center had 10 goals in his first 13 games, but has 16 on the season after scoring a career-high 43 times in 2007-08.
A two-goal effort in a 5-4 overtime loss at Anaheim (22-17-5) on Oct. 29 was part of Zetterberg's early season surge. He has eight goals and five assists in his last 11 games versus the Ducks.
Even if Zetterberg is able to find his scoring touch against Anaheim again, Detroit is going to have to find a way to shore up its defense after a lackluster effort.
The Red Wings were outshot 49-30 by the Stars in the second stop of a five-game road trip that takes them into the All-Star break. Detroit gave up 23 shots in the second period, the most it has allowed in one period since Columbus had 23 in the opening period of a 2-1 Red Wings win on Nov. 21, 2001.
Still, the Red Wings were able to pick up a point thanks partly to some outstanding saves from Chris Osgood, who stopped a season-high 44 shots. Osgood has started both of Detroit's games against the Ducks this season, going 1-0-1 with a 2.96 goals-against average, and is 13-3-1 with two ties and a 2.55 GAA all-time against them.
Anaheim's Jean-Sebastien Giguere, meanwhile, got a much-needed boost Sunday night, making 18 saves in the Ducks' 4-3 victory over New Jersey for his first win since Dec. 14. Giguere was benched Thursday night in Los Angeles after allowing three goals in the first 21 minutes.
The Ducks gave up four goals in each of their previous two games, losing both.
Against the Devils, Anaheim was clicking on offense. Chris Kunitz scored twice in the third period, giving him 11 goals on the season.
"I've been up and down this year so far, it feels good to help contribute and get a win," Kunitz said of his first multigoal game since Dec. 10.
Corey Perry assisted on both of Kunitz's goals, making a quick contribution in his return after a four-game suspension for elbowing Philadelphia's Claude Giroux in the head Jan. 2. The Ducks were 2-2-0 in Perry's absence and had won just three of their last 10 games before facing New Jersey.
"He's a great offensive player that can move the puck and draws people to him," Kunitz said. "Any time you have a key offensive guy out of the lineup and you get him back, it gives the whole team a boost."