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Wings go for season sweep of Ducks

by John Kreiser
RED WINGS (39-18-6) at DUCKS (33-25-5)

TV -- FS-Detroit (HD); FS-West (HD)

Last 10 -- Detroit 7-3-0; Anaheim 5-4-1

Season series -- It's the fourth and final meeting of the season, and the Wings are going for the sweep after winning 5-4 and 4-0 in Detroit and 4-0 in their previous visit to Anaheim on Dec. 3.

Big story -- The Wings are off to a fast start on their five-game road trip with wins at Buffalo on Saturday and Los Angeles on Monday. The Ducks ended a five-game slide on Sunday by beating Colorado 3-2, but the losing streak dropped them out of the top eight in the West.

Team Scope:

Red Wings -- For whatever reason, the Wings are very comfortable away from Joe Louis Arena. They've won six in a row on the road for the second time this season, and a win in Anaheim will give them their longest winning streak on the road since 2006.

"I don't know how it's working out this way, but we're playing really well on the road," defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom said. "We're getting some bodies back, guys that have been out with injuries for over a month."

Ducks -- Anaheim is hoping for a lift from newcomer Brad Winchester, a big forward who was acquired from St. Louis at the trade deadline. Winchester is known more as a banger than a scorer, but he did score 9 goals for the Blues before the trade.

"He's a big-bodied guy who we feel can come in and use his physical stature and style of play and get involved," coach Randy Carlyle told the media on Tuesday. "We think he can move up and down on our left side. We think there is a fit for him in our style of play. We think he can help us and make a positive contribution by just being himself."

Who's hot -- Detroit's Henrik Zetterberg has 4 points in his last four games. Pavel Datsyuk has goals in back-to-back games. … Anaheim forward Bobby Ryan has 4 points in his last three games.

Injury report -- Detroit is still without defenseman Brian Rafalski due to back spasms, though he hopes to play Thursday at San Jose. Forward Patrick Eaves suffered a groin injury last Tuesday and is still out. … Anaheim is without starting goalie Jonas Hiller (lightheadness and headaches) and center Saku Koivu (groin). Forward Corey Perry left practice Tuesday with what was termed a lower-body injury.

Stat pack -- Detroit goaltender Jimmy Howard is 16-3-0 with a 2.63 goals-against average in 21 road starts, including 10-0-0 in his last 12. … Henrik Zetterberg has 6 points against the Ducks this season and 16 in the last seven meetings. … Detroit's 4-0 win in its last visit to the Honda Center took just 2:06, the fastest game in the NHL this season.

Puck drop -- The Wings didn't make any moves at the trade deadline, but they did make a deal -- re-signing Howard, a free agent this summer, to a two-year contract with $4.5 million.

"We drafted him, developed him and have watched him become an NHL goalie that was good enough to be the runner-up for rookie of the year last season," GM Ken Holland said. "He's a workhorse who you can put in net night after night."

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