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Wild, Red Wings place win streaks on the line

by Brian Hunter

WILD (16-10-2) at RED WINGS (14-10-5)


Last 10: Minnesota 7-3-0; Detroit 5-3-2

Season series: Third and final meeting of the regular season. The home team has taken each of the first two matchups. Pavel Datsyuk had a goal and two assists in Detroit's 5-3 win on Jan. 25, while Minnesota rallied for a 3-2 victory on Feb. 17 as Dany Heatley, Jason Zucker and Torrey Mitchell all scored in a span of 4:10 in the second period.

Big story: A national television audience will join those in attendance at Joe Louis Arena watching to see if the Northwest Division-leading Wild can extend their win streak to four straight games, or if the Red Wings can end it while pushing their own run to three in a row.

Team Scope:

Wild: With first place on the line Monday night, Minnesota accomplished something it hadn't in over four years and won a game in Vancouver. Rookie defenseman Jonas Brodin answered Henrik Sedin's power-play goal in the second period that opened the scoring with one of his own, and rookie forward Charlie Coyle had the go-ahead goal 3:20 into the third as the Wild went on to a 3-1 triumph. Niklas Backstrom stopped 35 shots, Matt Cullen added an insurance goal and Ryan Suter logged over 29 minutes on the back end.

"Those guys are really good," Cullen said of the 19-year-old Brodin and the 21-year-old Coyle. "They are playing big, important minutes and I can't say enough about how well and how mature they have played."

Red Wings: This is the only stop back in Detroit in a stretch of eight games for the Red Wings, who just took two of three during a trek through western Canada and after Wednesday will head back out on the road for four more in California and Arizona. They took another hit Monday when it was announced defenseman Kyle Quincey will miss 4-6 weeks with fractures to his cheekbone. Justin Abdelkader was ailing as well Friday after suffering a skate cut to his left foot in Calgary, but played Saturday and scored his second and third goals of the season to spark a 5-2 win in Vancouver. Henrik Zetterberg also had a pair, his first goals in 11 games.

"I think you in Canada are more stat freaks than we are in the States," Zetterberg told the media afterward. "So it's nice to get it going here where you notice it."

Who's hot: Cullen has a goal and five assists during a five-game points streak for the Wild. Devin Setoguchi has four goals and two assists during a four-game points streak. Pierre-Marc Bouchard has a goal and four assists during a three-game points streak. Brodin has his first two NHL goals in the past three games after going 22 without one. … Datsyuk has a goal and five assists during a four-game points streak for the Red Wings. Niklas Kronwall has two goals and two assists during a three-game points streak. Jimmy Howard is 6-1-2 in his past nine starts and has given up two goals or fewer in eight of those games.

Injury report: Minnesota forward Mike Rupp (lower body) and defenseman Tom Gilbert (undisclosed) are day-to-day. Goalie Josh Harding (illness) is out. … Detroit forward Darren Helm (back) suffered a setback at practice Monday. It had originally been hoped he could return as early as this week. Forwards Todd Bertuzzi (back) and Mikael Samuelsson (finger) and defensemen Quincey and Carlo Colaiacovo (shoulder) are also out.

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