Red Wings start road trip against struggling Flames
RED WINGS (12-9-5) at FLAMES (9-11-4)
TV: TSN, FS-Detroit
Last 10: Detroit 5-3-2; Calgary 4-5-1
Season series: Second of three meetings. Mike Cammalleri set up three goals, including the game-winner by Curtis Glencross, as Calgary took a 4-1 win in Detroit on Feb. 5. On the down side, Flames goalie Miikka Kiprusoff had to leave the game after the second period with an MCL sprain and missed the next month.
Big story: Each team is probably happy to be facing a new opponent, as the Red Wings were just swept in a home-and-home with the Blue Jackets, while the Flames dropped both ends of their own two-game series against the Kings. This is the start of a three-game road trip for Detroit, which plays seven of its next eight away from Joe Louis Arena.
Red Wings: Used to beating up on traditional Central Division doormat Columbus over the years, Detroit instead saw its recent 5-1-1 run stymied by back-to-back games against the suddenly resurgent Blue Jackets. The Red Wings were blanked at Nationwide Arena on Saturday, then returned home on Sunday looking to turn the tables. Instead they found themselves playing catch-up throughout, as Jakub Kindl and Johan Franzen wiped out Columbus leads, but despite a Pavel Datsyuk goal to begin the shootout, Ryan Johansen and Matt Calvert scored in response, handing Detroit a 3-2 defeat.
"I don't think it's lack of effort or lack of trying by the guys. They're working hard, and hopefully when we go out on this trip we get a couple bounces," goalie Jimmy Howard told the Detroit Free Press.
Flames: After managing to tread water in Kiprusoff's absence with a combination of Leland Irving, Joey MacDonald and Daniel Taylor, Calgary appeared to be trending in the right direction when Kiprusoff won his return against the Sharks on March 6. But the Flames were just swept on a three-game road trip, the last two in Los Angeles, and return to Scotiabank Saddledome in dire need of a hot streak to regain ground in the Western Conference playoff race.
"It was a big step in the wrong direction," captain Jarome Iginla told the Calgary Sun following Monday's 3-1 loss. "We get to go home, and we've gotta win games, but this trip definitely put us a ways back.
"We have to play better. We have to find ways to out-compete the other teams. We have to find ways to win. This was a close game … but they found a way to win it. That's what we haven't been doing enough lately."
Who's hot: Kindl has goals in two of the past three games for the Red Wings. Howard is only 2-1-2 over his past five starts, but hasn't given up more than two goals in any of those games and boasts a .958 save percentage. … Mikael Backlund has two goals in the past three games for the Flames. Alex Tanguay has a goal and an assist over the past two games.