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Surging Ducks drop in on Red Wings

by Brian Hunter

DUCKS (9-2-1) at RED WINGS (7-4-2)

TV: PRIME, FS-Detroit

Last 10: Anaheim 7-2-1; Detroit 6-2-2

Season series: First of three meetings, with the final two coming as part of a home-and-home on March 22 and 24. Detroit won the first three matchups on the 2011-12 slate before Anaheim took a 4-0 victory behind Jonas Hiller's flawless, 23-save performance in their most recent game.

Big story: In just about any other season, the Ducks would be the NHL's biggest success story with nine wins in their first dozen games. The Blackhawks may have stolen some of their thunder by going 13 games without a regulation loss and racing to the early lead in the Western Conference, but Anaheim does enjoy the satisfaction of having edged Chicago in a shootout on Tuesday and will now attempt to wrest two points from another tough Central Division team.

Team Scope:

Ducks: As Hiller works his way back from a lower-body injury suffered last week, the major sub-story to Anaheim's tremendous start went on doing his thing Tuesday in Chicago. Viktor Fasth, a veteran in terms of age (30) but a rookie in terms of NHL experience, improved to 6-0 by stopping 28 of 30 shots and two of three shootout attempts in the Ducks' 3-2 victory. He did allow a pair of goals 28 seconds apart in the second period as the Blackhawks went in front, but Andrew Cogliano netted the tying goal with 2:40 left and Nick Bonino and Corey Perry scored in the penalty-shot tiebreaker.

"You always work hard to get to play and when you play you work hard to try to get the wins," Fasth said. "I don't take anything for granted and I've got to work hard every day to get my chances and play when the coach wants me to play."

Red Wings: This is the finale of a four-game homestand on which Detroit has gone 2-0-1 so far. The lone point they failed to collect came Wednesday night when the Red Wings fell to the rival Blues 4-3 in overtime. They built an early 2-0 lead on first goals of the season by Tomas Tatar (his second career goal in 14 games) and Drew Miller, but St. Louis roared back to take the lead. Pavel Datsyuk scored the equalizer and after a scoreless third, Alexander Steen beat Jimmy Howard 52 seconds into the extra period.

"It wasn't good," captain Henrik Zetterberg told the Detroit Free Press. "They really took over, totally. We stopped forechecking. We made some dumb mistakes. We had the puck, and we gave them the puck. We didn't win the 50-50 battles."

Who's hot: Bonino has a goal and two assists during a three-game points streak for the Ducks, and has shootout goals in each of the last two games. Ben Lovejoy had two assists in his third game since being acquired from the Penguins. … Datsyuk has goals in three straight games for the Red Wings.

Injury report: Hiller could dress Friday if he continues to make progress. Defensemen Cam Fowler (upper body) and Hampus Lindholm (concussion) are on injured reserve. … Detroit forward Johan Franzen missed Wednesday's game with a hip flexor and forward Todd Bertuzzi was sidelined with a strained back. Goaltender Jonas Gustavsson (groin), defensemen Carlo Colaiacovo (shoulder) and Brendan Smith (shoulder) and forwards Jan Mursak (collarbone), Mikael Samuelsson (groin) and Darren Helm (back) are on injured reserve.

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