The Red Wings enter Friday night’s home game trying to avoid their fourth loss in five games, while the Ducks have dropped five of six.
The Red Wings (14-11-5), who scored a league-best 295 goals in 2008-09, have not had the same punch this season. Defections and a lengthy injured list are largely to blame. Marian Hossa(notes) and Mikael Samuelsson(notes) departed via free agency in the offseason and Jiri Hudler(notes) left for Russia. Johan Franzen(notes), Valtteri Filppula(notes), Jason Williams(notes) and defenseman Niklas Kronwall(notes) are all currently on injured reserve.
Detroit suffered yet another blow Wednesday night when Dan Cleary separated his shoulder during a 1-0 defeat at home to St. Louis. The right wing, who has 16 points this season, is expected to miss a month.
Cleary was one of 11 Detroit players with 40 or more points in 2008-09. Out of that group, only Pavel Datsyuk(notes), Henrik Zetterberg(notes), Nicklas Lidstrom(notes) and Brian Rafalski(notes) are currently on the active roster.
The Red Wings have scored one goal or none in seven of their last 12 games.
However, Detroit enjoyed one of its best performances this season against the Ducks (11-13-6) on Nov. 14 at Joe Louis Arena.
Zetterberg, who has a team-leading 30 points, had a hat trick and two assists in the 7-4 victory, and Cleary added a goal and two assists. It stands as both the Red Wings’ second-best scoring output of the season and the most goals allowed by the Ducks in 2009-10.
That loss dropped the Ducks to 3-22-3 with three ties at Detroit in regular-season play. They also dropped three of four there in last spring’s playoff series. The Wings have won five straight regular-season meetings with the Ducks overall.
Anaheim has also been struggling defensively lately, allowing at least three goals in each game while losing five of six. The conference-worst Ducks have also been outscored 29-16 during their franchise-record eight-game road losing streak (0-5-3) - a bad omen for a club opening a four game road trip that will play 10 of its next 12 games away from home.
Anaheim, however, has earned at least a point in three straight games thanks to an offensive resurgence. The Ducks have scored 11 goals - four by Joffrey Lupul(notes) - to help them post a 1-0-2 mark.
They snapped a five-game slide Tuesday night by rallying for a 4-3 overtime win over Dallas.
The Stars scored all of their goals in the first 26:20, but Dan Sexton(notes) tied it up with two goals in the third period. Saku Koivu(notes) buried the winning score with 47 seconds left in overtime.
“Our team has been working hard, and to be able to respond from the three-goal deficit - especially after losing the last two games in heartbreaking shootouts - it just says a lot about your team,” Sexton said.
The Red Wings will try to try avoid a third straight home loss, and their seventh in eight games at Joe Louis Arena since they last faced the Ducks.