Wild-Red Wings Preview
GAME: Minnesota Wild (18-17-4) at Detroit Red Wings (26-9-3).
TIME: Tuesday, 7:30 p.m. EST.
The Detroit Red Wings look to ride the momentum from veteran goaltender Chris Osgood into the new year when they meet the Minnesota Wild.
After going 3-6-1 from Nov. 13-Dec. 4, the Red Wings went 8-1-1 to close out December. Osgood, who backstopped Detroit to Stanley Cup championships in 1997 and 1998, has been in net for all ten contests, recording a 2.46 goals-against aveage in that span.
Osgood only had to make 13 saves in the Red Wings' 5-2 win Saturday over the Columbus Blue Jackets. Detroit rallied from a 2-0 deficit by scoring the game's final five goals.
"It didn't look pretty at the start," said Red Wings coach Mike Babcock. "I thought the game got better as we went along."
Mikael Samuelsson and Nicklas Lidstrom each scored twice, and the Red Wings outshot the Blue Jackets 43-15.
Samuelsson has four goals in the last four games. Lisdstrom recorded his first multi-goal game of the season and his seven goals and 28 assists overall and is third in the league in scoring among defensemen behind Bryan McCabe of the Toronto Maple Leafs and Lubomir Visnovsky of the Los Angeles Kings.
Detroit has won four straight games at Joe Louis Arena, outscoring its opponents 17-8 in that span. The Red Wings are 6-2-1 all-time at home against Minnesota.
The Wild defeated the Vancouver Canucks on Saturday 4-3 for their sixth win in eight games.
Rookie defenseman Kurtis Foster had a goal and an assist in the win, giving him six goals and six assists since being recalled Nov. 17 from Houston of the AHL.
"Every shot he sends at the net, they're hard to catch because he shoots so hard," Wild coach Jacques Lemaire said. "He maybe thinks a little more offensively than most guys. It's good to have a defenseman like that."
Manny Fernandez made 26 saves in the victory and has won five straight games. He has not given up more than three goals in any of the 22 games he has played this season.
But Fernandez has struggled against Detroit, going 0-4-1 with a 3.69 GAA in six appearances since beating the Red Wings on Jan. 5, 2001.
Fernandez is 2-6-1 with a 3.47 GAA in his career versus the Wings.
Minnesota's league-leading penalty-killing unit will be challenged against a Red Wings' team that has scored a league-best 55 power-play goals. The Wild have given up just four power-play goals in its last 42 opportunities and league-low 23 this season.
STANDINGS (through Jan. 1): Wild - 40 points, 5th place, 10 PB, Northwest Division. Red Wings - 55 points, 1st place, Central Division.
TEAM LEADERS: Wild - Brian Rolston, 17 goals and 39 points; Rolston and Pierre-Marc Bouchard, 22 assists; Derek Boogaard, 66 PIM. Red Wings - Brendan Shanahan, 20 goals; Pavel Datsyuk and Lidstrom, 28 assists; Datsyuk, 43 points; Chris Chelios, 64 PIM.
SPECIAL TEAMS (through Jan. 1): Wild - Power play: 19.0 percent (41 for 216), 9th in NHL. Penalty killing: 89.1 percent (172 for 211), 1st. Red Wings - Power play: 25.1 percent (55 for 219), 1st. Penalty killing: 84.9 percent (191 for 225), 6th.
GOALTENDERS: Wild - Fernandez (14-5-3, 1 SO, 2.05 GAA); Dwayne Roloson (4-12-1, 1, 2.75). Red Wings - Osgood (12-3-3, 0, 2.80); Manny Legace (13-4-0, 2, 2.21).
SEASON SERIES: Red Wings, 1-0.
LAST MEETING: Nov. 11; Red Wings 3-1. At Detroit, Shanahan and Jason Williams scored second-period goals as Legace made 16 saves for the Red Wings.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Wild - 7-11-3 on the road; Red Wings - 13-5-1 at home.