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Red Wings look to turn fortunes at home vs. Flames

by Brian Hedger

FLAMES (13-16-5) at RED WINGS (15-12-9)


Last 10: Calgary 5-4-1; Detroit 3-5-2

Season series: This is the second and final game between the Detroit Red Wings and Calgary Flames, who used to be Western Conference foes. The Red Wings, now in the Eastern Conference's Atlantic Division, won the first 4-3 on Nov. 1 at Scotiabank Saddledome, with Justin Abdelkader scoring the decisive goal and Jimmy Howard earning the win.

Big story: Detroit is reeling during a winless skid that has reached six straight games. The Red Wings are depleted and starting to look deflated after a spate of injuries left them without six of their top nine forwards, one of their top four defensemen and Howard in net. Calgary was shut out for the first time this season in its most recent game, a 2-0 loss Tuesday to the Boston Bruins at TD Garden.

Team Scope:

Flames: Calgary is 1-1-1 in the first three games of a five-game road trip leading into the Christmas break and has games against the Red Wings and Pittsburgh Penguins.

Zdeno Chara scored each goal on the power play for Boston, and Calgary never seemed to recover from the first one, scored at 7:38 of the second period.

"Once they scored their first goal, it seems like for a reason I can't explain we lost our legs," coach Bob Hartley said. "We knew it would be a grinding game and tight checking and that we wouldn't get a ton of chances, but I felt that in the first period we skated well. That first power-play goal kind of set us back and we couldn't get going."

The Flames have scored three goals on their past 29 power plays (10.3 percent).

Red Wings: The glut of Detroit injuries isn't helping matters, but the type of play and effort recently do not match what's expected of the Red Wings. They've dropped five straight home games in regulation, a rarity at Joe Louis Arena, and have a 2-7-1 record in their past 10 there.

There might be even worse news coming on the injury front: 41-year old forward Daniel Alfredsson missed an outdoor practice at Comerica Park on Wednesday. Coach Mike Babcock made it sound like a maintenance day, but the Red Wings called up forward Jordin Tootoo from Grand Rapids of the American Hockey League.

"We really can't think too much about the past," goalie Jonas Gustavsson said. "We have to really put all of the focus on the next game and that game only. It's not like we're going to win five games at once. We've got to win one game and go from there, so I know we're all looking to bounce back and we're going to do everything that we can [Thursday night]."

Who's hot: Former Red Wings forward Jiri Hudler has two goals and seven points in the past 10 games for Calgary. … Detroit rookie Tomas Jurco scored his first career goal in his second NHL game Tuesday.

Injury report: Defenseman Dennis Wideman (broken hand) has missed nine games for the Flames. … Detroit is missing Zetterberg (back), Howard (knee sprain), defenseman Danny DeKeyser (shoulder), forward Johan Franzen (concussion), forward Justin Abdelkader (concussion), forward Darren Helm (shoulder), forward Gustav Nyquist (groin) and forward Stephen Weiss (groin).

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