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Red Wings look for back-to-back sweep against Ducks

by Davis Harper

RED WINGS (15-11-5) at DUCKS (22-4-4)

TV: FS-Detroit, PRIME

Last 10: Detroit 5-3-2; Anaheim 7-1-2

Season series: This is the third and final meeting, with each team winning once in the other's arena. Friday, Justin Abdelkader had a hat trick as Detroit defeated Anaheim 5-1, ending the Ducks' franchise-best 14-game winning streak at Honda Center.

Big story: Two days ago Detroit made Anaheim – the hottest team in the NHL of late – look positively average, snapping the Ducks' home streak and handing them their first regulation loss since Feb. 25. Will Anaheim bounce back and earn revenge over the team that ended the streak, or can Detroit sweep the home-and-home for their fourth win in five games?

Team Scope:

Red Wings: After mid-March losses to the Calgary Flames and Columbus Blue Jackets (twice), Detroit bounced back with wins in three of four to vault into sixth in the Western Conference.

Against the Ducks on Friday, the Red Wings looked as good as they have all season. Abdelkader, playing on a line with Pavel Datsyuk, scored his first career hat trick, and Datsyuk recorded his 250th career goal. The Red Wings defense -- a source of concern all season -- and goaltender Jimmy Howard stood tall against a relentless Ducks attack.

"Sometimes the puck will find you, or follow you, and maybe that was the case this game," Abdelkader said of his hat trick, which gave him five goals in the past three games after scoring one in his first 28. "We had a good team game. Give those guys a lot of credit: Pav and Johan Franzen. They've done a tremendous job, and I'm just trying to do my part and pull ... as Pav would say, the piano, up and down the ice."

Ducks: Anaheim welcomed Detroit to Honda Center during arguably its best run in franchise history. The Ducks have enjoyed an incredible season and Wednesday defeated the team that kept them under the radar for so long. A convincing 4-2 victory against the Chicago Blackhawks moved Anaheim to within three points of the Western leaders and solidified the Ducks' place among the NHL's elite.

After Friday's loss, the popular narrative read that Anaheim was ripe for a letdown against Detroit; coach Bruce Boudreau wasn't buying it during his postgame press conference.

"I don't know why this game would be a letdown (from the Blackhawks victory)," Boudreau said. "I mean, we had a whole 24 hours in-between -- and you're playing the Detroit Red Wings, for crying out loud. ... We want to remember this one and we don't want it to happen again."

Who's hot: Howard is 3-0-1 with a 1.24 goals-against average in his past four starts in Anaheim.

Injury report: Red Wings forward Mikael Samuelsson (hand) and defenseman Carlo Colaiacovo (shoulder) are day-to-day. Defenseman Kyle Quincey (face) is expected back mid-to-late April, and forwards Darren Helm and Todd Bertuzzi continue to miss time with back injuries. … Ducks forward Nick Bonino (lower-body inury) is day-to-day.

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