Detroit (25-11-5) at Anaheim (28-9-6)

Fair Currently: Anaheim, CA
Temp: 83° F
  • Game info: 8:00 pm EST Sun Jan 7, 2007
  • TV: FSD, KDOC
Preview | Box Score | Recap

The Anaheim Ducks top the Western Conference, but it may not last long considering their recent struggles. The Detroit Red Wings need to snap out of their sudden funk to take advantage.

The Ducks look to avoid their first five-game losing streak in four years when they face the conference rival Red Wings on Sunday.

Anaheim (28-9-6) leads the West with 62 points, seven ahead of Detroit (25-11-5).

The Ducks, however, have lost four straight games in regulation for the first time since Nov. 13-20, 2005. They haven’t lost five in a row since Dec. 26, 2002-Jan. 3, 2003.

With a three-goal lead and Ilya Bryzgalov playing well in net, Anaheim seemed assured of ending its slide against Columbus on Friday night. But the Ducks allowed four goals in the final 10:02 en route to a 4-3 defeat.

“There are certain things we pride ourselves on as far as playing strong defensive hockey, and that went out the window,” Anaheim coach Randy Carlyle said.

Ducks leading scorer Teemu Selanne had a goal early in the third period, but missed a chance to force overtime when Columbus goalie Fredrik Norrena blocked his penalty shot with 21 seconds remaining.

“It’s embarrassing and that’s the only word I can use to describe the whole thing,” Selanne said.

Bryzgalov, on the shelf with a groin injury until recently, started his second game in a row and faced 33 shots in the loss. He is 1-2-0 with a 2.02 goals-against average in three career games against the Red Wings.

The Ducks remain plagued by injuries. Anaheim is missing defensemen Chris Pronger (fractured foot) and Francois Beauchemin (lacerated spleen), and forward Todd Marchant (abdominal strain) in addition to goaltender Jean-Sebastien Giguere (groin).

Detroit, meanwhile, has lost consecutive games in regulation for just the second time this season. The Red Wings had a three-game losing streak from Oct. 18-21.

“We haven’t been playing as well as we can and we’ve given up a couple of leads lately,” goaltender Chris Osgood said. “That’s what happens when you take penalties. They wore us down. We’ve been short-handed a lot the last two games and we haven’t gotten too many power plays. And anytime that happens, you’re spending a lot of time in your own end.”

The Red Wings didn’t convert on two power-play chances in a 4-2 loss at Los Angeles on Saturday night.

Detroit center Pavel Datsyuk missed his third straight game because of a groin injury. His status for Sunday’s game is uncertain.

Defenseman Chris Chelios sat out his fifth straight game and third since two employees were stabbed to death at his Detroit sports bar. Chelios is expected to rejoin the team Monday in Denver.

Kris Draper and Mikael Samuelsson scored for the Red Wings, who are four points behind Central Division-leading Nashville at the midway mark in their schedule.

Detroit and Anaheim have split two games this season, with each team winning at home. In their last meeting, Tomas Holmstrom had a goal and an assist to lead the Red Wings to a 2-1 win over the Ducks on Jan. 2.

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Sunday, Jan 7