Detroit (24-17-8) at Minnesota (24-23-3)

Fair Currently: St. Paul, MN
Temp: 64° F
  • Game info: 8:00 pm EST Thu Jan 21, 2010
Preview | Box Score | Recap

The Detroit Red Wings are trying to stay optimistic after three tough losses. Facing the Minnesota Wild twice in the next week is one reason for the team to remain positive.

The Red Wings look to avoid a season-high fourth straight loss Thursday night when they visit the Minnesota Wild for the teams’ first meeting this season.

Detroit (24-17-8) has suffered some heartbreaking losses recently, losing back-to-back games in shootouts and then blowing a 2-1 lead in a 3-2 loss to Washington on Tuesday. Chris Osgood(notes) gave up two goals 46 seconds apart in the third period against the Capitals.

It was the fifth straight game the Red Wings failed to score more than three goals. After averaging an NHL-leading 3.52 goals in 2008-09, they are among the lowest-scoring this season at 2.49 goals per game.

Despite the lack of offense and the fact that the Red Wings are in ninth place in the Western Conference, Detroit is still 6-3-3 over its last 12 games. Coach Mike Babcock is eager for the team to snap its skid, but he’s also pleased with its recent effort.

Although the Red Wings failed to hold onto their lead Tuesday, they outshot the Capitals 46-23.

“Don’t get me wrong, we’re in the winning business and we need points, but I like the way our team has played,” Babcock told the Red Wings’ official Web site. “We know we’re a work in progress and we think we’re getting better all the time.”

The Red Wings haven’t lost four in a row since going 0-4-1 from Jan. 17-31, 2009. They’ll look to snap their current skid in the first of two games in St. Paul over the next week. Detroit returns to the Xcel Energy Center on Jan. 27.

The Red Wings have won 11 of their last 14 games against the Wild and have taken away at least one point in all but one of those contests, going 6-1-1 in St. Paul over that period. They went 3-1-0 against Minnesota last season.

However, the Wild (24-23-3) have played well at home, where they won four straight before an 0-3-0 road trip.

Minnesota capped the trip with a 4-3 loss at Dallas on Monday. It trailed 4-0 in the second before rallying to pull within one on Mikko Koivu’s(notes) goal with five minutes remaining. The Wild, however, were unable to finish the comeback.

“You do have to give the guys credit for battling back, but you can’t put yourselves in that position,” coach Todd Richards said. “You have to play when the game is tough and the game is tough when it’s 0-0 and you’re playing a team that has 51 points just the same as you and it’s the end of January.”

Antti Miettinen(notes) had two goals and an assist against the Stars after going two games without a point. He had one goal and three assists against Detroit last season.

Richards pulled Niklas Backstrom(notes) after he gave up the fourth goal Monday. Backstrom has struggled against Detroit, going 1-3-1 with a 3.46 goals-against average.

The Wild, who open a three-game homestand Thursday, are 16-6-1 at home this season.

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Thursday, Jan 21