(SportsNetwork.com) - Mired in their longest losing streak in decades, the
Detroit Red Wings will try desperately to get back in the win column when they
host the Carolina Hurricanes in Thursday's clash at Joe Louis Arena.
The Red Wings enter Thursday on a seven-game losing streak, the club's first
slide of that length since Jan. 14-30, 1991. After losing a 2-0 decision in
Tuesday's game against visiting Nashville, the club also has lost its last
eight in Detroit, marking the franchise's longest home losing streak since
Nov. 19-Dec. 20, 1986.
Detroit has gained a point on five occasions during this slide and has lost
the seven games by a slim total margin of nine goals. That's hardly
consolation for a team that hasn't tasted victory since beating Edmonton 5-0
on Nov. 2.
The Red Wings couldn't get a shot past Marek Mazanec on Tuesday, as
Nashville's rookie goaltender made 27 saves to notch his first career shutout.
Gabriel Bourque and Shea Weber each had a goal for the Predators.
Jimmy Howard allowed both goals on 25 shots as Detroit fell to 3-3-6 at the
Joe this season.
"It's just a frustrating time for us right now," Howard said. "It doesn't seem
like anything's going our way out there, but you've got to go out there and
work for your breaks."
Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said after practice on Wednesday that he's
considering splitting up linemates Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg for
tonight's game. Zetterberg is leading the team with 23 points, while Datsyuk
is next with 22 points and also boasts a team-best 11 goals this season.
"We'll see tomorrow, they weren't together in practice today," Babcock said.
"We have to win a game, right? So whatever we have to do to win a game and get
going from there so everyone can breathe a little bit."
The Red Wings will be without defenseman Danny DeKeyser for the next several
weeks after he sprained his left shoulder in Tuesday's loss. DeKeyser, who was
placed on long term injured reserve on Wednesday, has played in 22 games this
season, recording two goals and seven assists. The injury is expected to keep
him sidelined for four-to-six weeks.
Detroit has dominated the series with the Hurricanes in recent years and
Carolina hasn't earned a win in the Motor City since Nov. 14, 1989, when the
club was still known as the Hartford Whalers.
The Red Wings are 14-0-0 with a tie in the past 15 regular-season encounters
at Joe Louis Arena and also have a credited home victory in a game played in
Cleveland, Ohio in 1994 during that span. Carolina also dropped two of three
games in Detroit while losing the 2002 Stanley Cup Finals to the Red Wings in
Detroit also has claimed five of six from Carolina overall.
Carolina, meanwhile, is on a two-game slide of its own and last played Monday
when it dropped a 4-1 home decision against the Boston Bruins. Tuukka Rask
posted 23 saves for the win, while Cam Ward surrendered three goals on 29
shots in his return to the crease for Carolina.
Tuomo Ruutu scored the lone goal of the game for the Hurricanes, who had won
two straight and four of five before this two-game slide.
Ward played for the first time since suffering a lower-body injury on Oct. 24
and said he needs some time to get back into the swing of things.
"I know I have to get my game back to where it needs to be," said Ward. "I'd
rather look at the positives tonight than the negatives. I hate losing, but I
felt a lot better in the second and third period."
Ward expects to get the start again on Thursday. He is just 1-4-1 with a 2.99
goals against average in six career games against the Red Wings.
Carolina has lost five straight on the road and is 3-5-0 as the guest this
season. The 'Canes are opening a brief two-game trip tonight and will also
visit Boston on Saturday.
The Sports Network