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Wings head to Calgary after intense loss

by Brian Compton
RED WINGS (21-11-1) at FLAMES (15-15-4)


Last 10: Detroit 7-1-2; Calgary 5-3-2.

Season Series: This is the third of four meetings between the teams. They split the first two matchups as Detroit responded to a 4-1 loss on Nov. 3 with a 5-3 win at Joe Louis Arena three weeks later.

Big Story: Detroit will complete its three-game Canadian trip Thursday night, and it will be interesting to see how much gas the Wings have in the tank after a highly-intense affair in Vancouver on Wednesday. Detroit was unable to extend its win streak to three games as it suffered a 4-2 loss to the Canucks at Rogers Arena.

Team Scope:

Red Wings: Wednesday's loss was just the second in the Wings' last seven games as they attempt to catch the also-hot Chicago Blackhawks in the Central Division. But Alexandre Burrows scored his fourth goal in as many games and Roberto Luongo made several tremendous saves in the third period as Detroit failed to leave Vancouver with any points.

"We had a good push … we had over 30 shots in the last two periods (40 for the game), but in saying that, you have to start on time," Wings coach Mike Babcock told The Detroit News. "We made too many mistakes through the neutral zone."

Flames: Calgary concludes its brief two-game homestand Thursday night against another one of the top teams in the Western Conference. The Flames managed to pull out a 2-1 victory against the Northwest Division leading Minnesota Wild on Tuesday night at Scotiabank Saddledome thanks to a game-winning goal from their captain, Jarome Iginla.

The line of Iginla, Olli Jokinen and Curtis Glencross combined for 12 shots on goal Tuesday night.

"We had some good opportunities tonight as a team and as a line," Iginla said. "We were finding each other and we all had some good looks. I had some ones that on another night they go in and fortunately tonight we didn't need any more."

Who's Hot: Wings forward Drew Miller has 5 goals in his last six games. … Iginla has a 4-game point streak and now leads the Flames with 13 goals.

Injury Report: Detroit is expected to be without Chris Conner (hand), Jan Mursak (ankle) and Patrick Eaves (jaw). … Calgary will likely be missing Matt Stajan (ankle), David Moss (foot), Mark Giordano (hamstring), Anton Babchuk (hand) and Henrik Karlsson (knee).

Stat Pack: Iginla has 33 career goals and 9 game-winners against Minnesota. He's also just three tallies shy of 500.

Puck Drop: "The gap's closer, but it's still not where we want to be. There's no hiding that fact. Our inability to win games early in the year, close games, our power play not coming through for us early on really put us in a hole.

"We've played better hockey and are starting to gain a little bit of ground, but we've got a long way to go." -- Flames center Brendan Morrison in Wednesday's edition of the Calgary Sun

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