Red Wings host Rangers in clash between struggling clubs
(SportsNetwork.com) - Detroit Red Wings head coach Mike Babcock is set to try something drastic in an effort to wake up his offense.
A meeting with the New York Rangers might have been enough on its own.
The Red Wings look to snap a three-game slide on Saturday night and avoid their first home loss to the Rangers in over 14 years.
Detroit has been held to three goals over its losing streak and was blasted 6-1 by the visiting Ottawa Senators on Wednesday. It marked Daniel Alfredsson's first game against his former club, but the first-year Red Wings forward managed just two shots on net.
Todd Bertuzzi had the lone goal and Jimmy Hoard yielded three goals on eight shots in just 14:14 of action before getting lifted. Jonas Gustavsson had 17 saves on 20 shots in relief.
"The bottom line is we were no good here today," Babcock said. "It's not like I saw it coming, it's not like I think our play's been falling off or anything. I didn't see it coming, I was surprised to say the least. Disappointed for Alfie that we couldn't have done a better job here."
With the struggles, Babcock decided on Friday to split Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg off of the same line. Datsyuk skated with Bertuzzi and Alfredsson, while Zetterberg partnered with Johan Franzen and Tomas Tatar.
"It's not going. I told them and you guys I wasn't going to split them up and 11 games in I'm splitting them up," Babcock said on Detroit's website. "It wasn't my plan and not necessarily what I wanted to do, but we need to."
History is on Babcock's side however. The Red Wings have won six straight and 10 of their past 11 at home in this series, with the Rangers having not won in Detroit since Jan. 30, 1999.
New York has won just twice in the past 14 games versus Detroit overall, snapping a five-game slide with a 2-1 overtime win at home in the last meeting on March 21, 2012.
The Rangers have also been held to three goals over their last two games, though they did manage a 2-0 win over Washington before consecutive losses to New Jersey and Philadelphia. The Blueshirts lost for the fifth time in six games on Thursday with a 2-1 setback to the Flyers.
Brad Richards scored the only marker for New York, which fell to 2-6-0 on its season-opening nine-game road trip. Tonight marks the end of the swing before the Rangers finally play their home opener at the renovated Madison Square Garden on Monday.
Henrik Lundqvist did not play on Thursday and is day-to-day with an undisclosed injury. Cameron Talbot made his NHL debut in his place and made 25 saves in the loss.
New York also had a bit of bad luck as J.T. Miller had a possible game-tying goal disallowed in the game when it was ruled he had kicked in the puck into the net.
"Obviously (the officials) saw something that I didn't, but it happens," said Miller. "It's a kicking motion; it happens all the time. I think it could have went either way."
The Rangers fell to 0-5-0 when failing to score first and remain without Rick Nash (concussion), Ryan Callahan (broken thumb) and Carl Hagelin (shoulder).
10/26 10:59:37 ET