The Detroit Red Wings continued their amazing run at home even without their No. 1 goaltender.
Detroit (36-17-2) opened a six-game homestand with Wednesday's 4-2 win over Edmonton. The Red Wings' last loss at Joe Louis Arena was a 4-1 defeat to Calgary on Nov. 3.
"The home win streak is really unique," said left wing Drew Miller, who has scored in four of his last five games. "I don't think we go into it really trying to say, 'Hey, let's do it to get this streak.' I think we're just trying to establish our game at home and play night in and night out the way that we should play."
Joey MacDonald made 15 saves for Detroit, earning his first win of the season in his second straight start and third appearance. Ty Conklin is also on the roster, but his .878 save percentage is the league's worst among goalies with at least 10 appearances and he was pulled after one period in his only start since the All-Star break.
General manager Ken Holland said Howard, out with a broken finger, is unlikely to be back this weekend. The All-Star had started the first 17 games of this run at home, which began Nov. 5 with a 5-0 victory over Anaheim (21-24-8).
The Red Wings can match the NHL's third-longest home winning streak set by Boston during the 1970-71 season. The 1929-30 Bruins and 1975-76 Flyers own the league record of 20 in a row.
"People that don't travel with us and just watch home games have no idea how hard it is to come back and what a grind it is," coach Mike Babcock said. "We're going to give our team a day off (Thursday). Ideally, we'll be freshened up and ready to go by the next one."
MacDonald has never faced Anaheim, which has lost seven straight regular-season games at Detroit and is 1-13-3 in its last 17 there.
While the Red Wings are atop the NHL standings, the Ducks are 13th in the Western Conference as one of the league's biggest disappointments. Anaheim has shown recent signs of life, going 14-11-4 since Bruce Boudreau's debut as Ducks coach Dec. 2.
The Ducks wrapped up a four-game homestand when Corey Perry scored in overtime in Wednesday's 3-2 win over Carolina. Anaheim twice rallied from a goal down.
"It's a tell-tale sign of a team that won't quit, and a tell-tale sign of a team that wants to win," said Boudreau, who lost all three visits to Detroit by one goal when he coached Washington.
This could be a close matchup based on the teams' recent play. The Red Wings are 12-4-1 since the start of January while the Ducks are 11-3-2 in the same span.
"This team has never stopped believing in itself," Boudreau said. "And until that last bell rings, when they're eliminated or whether they're in, they're going to keep going."
Jonas Hiller has started the Ducks' last 12 games, but he's 1-7-0 with a 3.72 goals-against average in eight career games at Detroit - including four in the postseason.
Perry ended a six-game goal drought Wednesday. He'll now try to end a run of seven straight games against Detroit without one.
- Anaheim Ducks