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Wings' road trip continues at Anaheim

by Brian Compton
RED WINGS (44-23-3) at DUCKS (29-30-11)


Last 10: Detroit 3-6-1; Anaheim 4-5-1

Season Series: This is the fourth and final meeting between the teams. Detroit has won all three showdowns thus far and has allowed only three goals.

Big Story: Detroit goaltender Jimmy Howard returned to the lineup Tuesday night after missing three straight games with a groin injury. It wasn't enough, however, to help the injury-plagued Red Wings earn a victory, as they suffered a 5-2 loss to the Los Angeles Kings at the Staples Center.

Detroit has lost four of five and is midway through a four-game road trip that includes all three California teams. The recent slide has the fourth-place Wings just two points ahead of No. 5 Nashville in the Western Conference playoff race.

"There were a lot of things I thought I could have done better," said Howard, who made 22 saves. "At the same time, it was my first game back in a week and a half, so I have just got to continue to work hard in practice and get the rhythm back and feeling back of being out there. I thought the game was extremely fast in front of me, so I have to find a way to slow it down until I get back to the game speed of things."

Team Scope:

Red Wings: The Kings got their revenge on the Wings after suffering a heartbreaking loss in Detroit four nights earlier. Jiri Hudler and Johan Franzen scored for the Wings, who continue to play without arguably their two best players -- Nicklas Lidstrom and Pavel Datsyuk.

"You're not going to win with the approach that we had tonight," Detroit coach Mike Babcock said. "I thought we had a really good start to the second period and as soon as they scored a goal, we got deflated and that was it for us. I didn't think we were competitive enough tonight."

Ducks: Wednesday marks the beginning of a three-game homestand for Anaheim, which is now nine points out of the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference with only 12 games remaining. The Ducks will be aiming to avoid a four-game skid after suffering a 3-2 overtime loss at Colorado on Monday night.

"I don't know what we're doing in overtime," said goaltender Jonas Hiller, who made 30 saves in the loss. "I guess everybody just wanted to run up and score and definitely not play defense first. It's tough. We came back twice and then you kind of give it away in overtime. It definitely hurts."

Who's Hot: Ducks winger Bobby Ryan has 3 goals and 4 assists in his last eight games and 13 points in his last 16 contests.

Injury Report: Detroit is without forwards Todd Bertuzzi (groin), Datsyuk (knee) and Patrick Eaves (jaw), and defensemen Lidstrom (bone bruise), Jonathan Ericsson (wrist) and Jakub Kindl (upper body). … Anaheim is hoping to have Nick Bonino back in the lineup after the center missed the last two games with a leg injury. Corey Perry (shoulder) is day-to-day and Dan Ellis (sports hernia) is out.

Stat Pack: Teemu Selanne scored a power-play goal Monday night and passed Jarri Kurri on the NHL's all-time scoring list with his 1,399th career point. By passing Kurri, Selanne is now the League's all-time leading scorer from Finland. Selanne has 659 goals and 740 assists in 1,329 games.

Puck Drop: "That doesn't really make me much happier right now. The win was really the only goal we had. We couldn't do it." -- Ducks forward Teemu Selanne on passing Jarri Kurri
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