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Wings aim to end five-game skid as Flames oppose

by Eric Goodman
FLAMES (4-5-1) at RED WINGS (5-4-1)


Season series:
This is the first of four meetings between these clubs. The Wings swept the four-game series last season, winning two games in regulation and a game each in overtime and the shootout.

Big Story:
The Red Wings have hit a substantial skid, dropping their last five games after opening the season with an impressive five-game winning streak. Calgary is still trying to find its stride and will attempt to defeat a Detroit team that its played fairly evenly recently. The Flames have a 7-10-3 record against the Wings over the past five seasons.

Team Scope:

Flames: While Calgary hasn't yet made a move up the Northwest standings, it has played well enough to remain competitive in a division led by the upstart and inexperienced Edmonton Oilers. But since the Flames' roster isn't packed with youngsters like the Oilers or Avalanche, the time is now for them to take advantage of their veterans' experience.

Calgary will try to recover from a tough 5-1 division loss at home to the Canucks on Tuesday. The Flames were outplayed in nearly every minute of that game and didn't put a goal on the board until there was just over 30 seconds left in the third period.

Captain Jarome Iginla spoke to reporters after the game and was asked if he saw any positive signs.

"Right now, I don't see a ton," he said. "We've been getting better. Unfortunately, tonight was a big letdown for us. I know it was for our fans, too."

Red Wings: Much like Thursday's opponent, Detroit's roster leans more toward players with a large amount of NHL experience. While that formula has always seemed to work for the Wings, the recent five-game losing streak has revealed a club that is struggling offensively.

To shake things up a bit, Detroit called up first-year center Gustav Nyquist to play against the Minnesota Wild on Tuesday, but the rookie could do little to help his club overcome giving up eight power-play opportunities to the Wild, and the Wings fell 2-1 in overtime.

"It's ridiculous, right?" coach Mike Babcock told following the loss. "There's a number of penalties we didn't need, even the too many men on the ice penalty. We're not helping ourselves right now."

Who's Hot: 
Alex Tanguay leads the Flames with 9 points (2g, 7a). He has managed at least a point in seven of his first 10 games this season. … While the Wings have recently misplaced their scoring touch, captain Nicklas Lidstrom has 1 goal and 3 assists over his last five games.

Injury Report: Defenseman Mike Commodore (sprained MCL) has yet to make his Wings debut, although he has been cleared to play. Forward Jan Mursak (left ankle) remains out. … The Flames should be healthy, with the exception of forward Mikael Backlund who has been on IR since the beginning of the season with a broken finger.
Stat Pack:
The Red Wings are averaging just one goal per game over their five-game losing streak. They had averaged 3.6 goals per game over their season-opening five-game win streak.

Puck Drop:
Babcock has reached a level of frustration with his team during the losing streak, but is determined to get them to turn it around.

"We got off to a good start, (then) we've lost five games in a row. We got a point (Tuesday) but the reality is we're not being good enough. We're going to have to fix it," Babcock said.

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