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Notes: Petr Mrazek back in net against the Ducks

Ducks have league's second best power play but will be without Ryan Getzlaf

by Dana Wakiji @Dwakiji / DetroitRedWings.com

ANAHEIM - Petr Mrazek returns to the net for the first time in three games tonight when he faces the Anaheim Ducks.

Mrazek's last start was Dec. 27 at home against the Buffalo Sabres.

"Obviously there's a greater spotlight on the goaltender position," Wings coach Jeff Blashill said. "It's just the reality of the position. I would say Petr welcomes that. I think a strength of his is being in spotlight never ever worried him whatsoever. He's worked hard on his game, he just needs to go out and play a good hockey game and the team in front of him needs to play a good hockey game. Sometimes when it's not been going great, you kind of need things to go your way, hopefully they go his way tonight."

Against the Sabres, Mrazek allowed four goals on 22 shots in the 4-3 loss.

Mrazek's last victory came Dec. 17 against these Ducks, a 6-4 win.

"I wouldn't focus on any other things but stop the puck, just hope I will stop lots of puck tonight and get the win," Mrazek said after the team's optional skate Wednesday. "That's all that matters. We work hard with Sal (goaltending coach Jeff Salajko) on the ice, I hope I'm going to show it tonight."

In 21 games this season, Mrazek is 9-8-3 with a 3.11 goals-against average and .896 save percentage.

"On the ice we work on lots of stuff that I never work on, around the net, around the post," Mrazek said. "This way I feel way better. The numbers are not what I what I want to have, so that's what I have to be better at."

Blashill, a former goaltender himself, said some of the goals Mrazek has let in have been unusual.

"I don't know if I want to call them weird, they've just been kind of different goals," Blashill said. "It hasn't been a ton of technique stuff, but I've seen his technique improving from the beginning of the year till now. That's not always going to show up in the results, but over the long term it does. I think there are certain areas of the game he's really improved at. It's just a matter of getting the results."

Last January, Mrazek dominated, going 7-1-1 with a 1.32 goals-against average and .952 save percentage.

Although no one could keep up that pace, Mrazek fell off enough that Jimmy Howard ended up back in the No. 1 role, only to have that reversed in the playoffs against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Salajko, who was with Mrazek in Grand Rapids, replaced longtime goaltending coach Jim Bedard after the season.

"He helped me a lot with the technique stuff and off the ice," Mrazek said. "I'm real happy he's the guy who is helping me and hope I am going to show it, but I can be better."

DUCKS HOT PP: The Ducks have scored 11 power-play goals in their last 11 games.

That stretch has lifted them to second in the league with the man-advantage at 24 percent, being the Columbus Blue Jackets' ridiculous 28.3 percent.

"They're a great team," Mrazek said. "They are second in power play so we have to do a great job in specialty teams tonight."

The Wings are 13th in the league on the penalty kill.

Ryan Getzlaf will not play for the Ducks due to a lower-body injury. That could benefit the Wings as Getzlaf had 11 goals and 29 assists in 36 career games against them.

But Riley Sheahan said that might not matter for Anaheim.

"They still got so much depth, they got a lot of skilled players that can put the puck in the net," Sheahan said. "They've got a good forecheck and they can press in the offensive zone so we're going to have to be sound defensively."

BLUE JACKETS STILL STREAKING: With their 3-1 victory over the Edmonton Oilers Tuesday night, the Blue Jackets extended their winning streak to 16 games, the second-longest single-season win streak in NHL history.

The Pittsburgh Penguins won 17 in a row from March 9-April 10, 1993.

"It's pretty amazing to be honest with you because every game is so close," Blashill said. "I'd like to go back and see how close each game of theirs has been. I know our game I think was a 3-1 score, but it was extremely, I thought we actually carried the play in that game so to do it it's pretty amazing. They've gotten elite, elite goaltending and they've scored big time on the power play and that's a big separator for sure."

The Blue Jackets have scored 126 goals and only allowed 74, a league-best plus-52 goal differential.

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