WILD (9-6-2) at RED WINGS (12-3-1)
TV -- KSTC (HD), FS-D (HD)
Last 10 --
Minnesota 6-3-1; Detroit 8-2-0
Season series --
This is the first of four meetings between the teams this season. The Red Wings took three of four games last season, including both games at Joe Louis Arena by a combined score of 11-3.
Big Story --
The Wings have won four in a row to move to the top spot of the Western Conference. Meanwhile, the Wild have won two straight and five of their last seven to move within one point of a playoff spot.
Rather than exult in Wednesday's overtime win against the Anaheim Ducks, coach Todd Richards knows his team got away with a win despite putting out what he thought was a less-than-acceptable effort.
"We're staying in games, but we can't be too fooled by ourselves, either," Richards said in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. "We have to be better. … We have to start doing a better job creating more opportunities and not having the lapses where we disappear for 15 to 20 minutes."
After being outshooting by Minnesota through two periods, 21-11, Anaheim cranked it up in the third, putting 16 shots on net to the Wild's two.
"I don't know what happened," goalie Niklas Backstrom
said. "Maybe, maybe we had too many turnovers, we were not strong enough on the puck and they controlled the third period. But we battled through that."
Red Wings --
The Wings have made the most of their current six-game homestand, winning the first four, including Wednesday's 7-3 defeat of the Blues.
They broke the game open with four goals in a 3:14 span of the third period, with Danny Cleary
, Henrik Zetterberg
, Brad Stuart
and Tomas Holmstrom
doing the damage. Cleary scored twice, and the Wings got four goals from their third- and fourth-line forwards.
"It's pretty much what we've been talking about all season -- the ability to roll with four lines and get contributions from everybody," Cleary told MLive.com.
Who's Hot --
Wild forward Martin Havlat has a goal and 5 points in his last three games. … Cleary's 2 goals against the Blues gave him at least one score in six straight games. He has at least a point in eight straight. Both streaks are career highs.
Injury Report --
Wild forwards Guillaume Latendresse
and Chuck Kobasew are out with groin injuries. Defenseman Brent Burns will be back Friday now that he's served his two-game suspension. … Red Wings forward Kris Draper still is recovering from sports hernia surgery last month. Goaltender Chris Osgood is questionable for Friday's game due to a groin injury.
Stat Pack --
Red Wings defenseman Brian Rafalski
had 3 assists Wednesday, putting him two shy of 400 for his career.
Puck Drop --
It's only been three games, but Wild rookie defenseman Marco Scandella
has made an impression. The 20-year-old 2008 second-round pick made a great play to set up Wednesday's overtime goal, and has looked like he belongs in the NHL in his first professional season. The plan had been to send Scandella back to the AHL when Burns returned from his suspension, but he's shown enough that the Wild sent Justin Falk
to the minors and kept Scandella.
"He's going to be a really good (defenseman) in this League," Backstrom said of Scandella in the Star-Tribune. "He's already really good. He's doing the simple things out there. He's not trying too much. He knows what he can do, and he's strong with the puck, makes the simple plays, and gets the pucks out."