NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Thursday, February 12th (All times eastern)
Minnesota Wild (28-22-3) at Detroit Red Wings (36-11-7), 7:30 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Detroit Red Wings will try to match their longest winning streak of the season tonight, when they take on the Minnesota Wild at Joe Louis Arena.
The Red Wings have yet to lose in the month of February, winning all five of their contests since they closed out January with a season-worst five-game losing streak. Detroit is riding a red-hot offense that has averaged five goals per game over this current win streak.
In Tuesday's 5-3 win over Nashville, Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk both scored twice and Marian Hossa netted his team-best 31st goal of the season.
Hossa has lit the lamp in each of his last five games, notching seven goals in that span. Zetterberg, who reached 20 goals for a fourth straight season and for the fifth time in his six NHL seasons, has four goals and six assists over the last eight games he has played in and Datsyuk has five tallies and 11 assists over a nine-game point streak.
Red Wings defenseman Brian Rafalski notched three assists to give him six in his last four outings, while goaltender Ty Conklin made 18 saves in the win.
Conklin has started each of Detroit's last three games and has posted a 2.00 goals against average in that time. He improved to 19-7-1 on the season with a 2.34 goals against average and six shutouts.
Detroit has won five straight games for the fourth time this season and with a win tonight can match its season-best winning streak of six games in a row set from December 30-January 10. The Red Wings' run has them 11 points up on Chicago for first place in the Central Division and three points behind San Jose for the most points in the Western Conference.
Detroit has won three straight and 10 of its last 11 games at home and is 19-4-2 at Joe Louis Arena this year.
The Red Wings have also posted a point in each of their last 11 games versus the Wild (9-0-2), including a 3-2 shootout win in Minnesota on January 3. The Red Wings are 3-0-1 at home versus the Wild in that span as well.
The Wild hit the road after posting a 3-1-0 mark on their recent homestand that concluded with last night's 3-2 win over the Colorado Avalanche. Minnesota will try to improve on its 11-12-0 road mark in this test before returning home for three straight.
Antti Miettinen's goal with 1:11 remaining in the third period lifted the Wild on Wednesday night and was also his career-high 35th point of the season. That passed the 34 points (15 goals, 19 assists) he had with Dallas last year.
Pierre-Marc Bouchard and Owen Nolan also tallied for the Wild, who have won four of their last five games overall and will try for three victories in a row for the first time since November 13-18.
Niklas Backstrom turned away 20 of the 22 shots he faced to notch his 27th win of the season. He is 3-1-0 with a 1.48 GAA and .946 save percentage over his last four starts but has never beaten Detroit, going 0-2-1 with a 4.00 GAA in his career versus the Red Wings.
Minnesota's victory last night moved the team into sole possession for second place in the Northwest Division and into a tie with Dallas for sixth overall in the Western Conference.
02/12 11:56:40 ET