The Detroit Red Wings seek to notch their first seven-game road win streak in five seasons Wednesday night when they meet the Anaheim Ducks.
Detroit (39-18-6) has won six straight on the road for the second time this season, also doing so from Dec. 26-Jan. 8. The Red Wings have not had a longer run since a 12-game streak March 1-April 15, 2006.
“I don’t know how it’s working out this way, but we’re playing really well on the road,” defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom said. “We’re getting some bodies back, guys that have been out with injuries for over a month.”
The Red Wings started this five-game trip with a 3-2 shootout win at Buffalo on Saturday before Monday’s 7-4 victory over Los Angeles.
Detroit built a six-goal lead midway through the third period against the Kings, with Drew Miller scoring twice. Jimmy Howard made 35 saves after signing a two-year, $4.5 million contract extension earlier in the day.
“We keep it really simple (on the road),” Howard said. “We don’t try and overdo it, or get too fancy. We just play a simple game, and it pays off.”
Howard is 16-3-0 with a 2.63 goals-against average in 21 road starts, including 10-0-0 in his last 12. Perhaps more importantly, he’s won all three starts against Anaheim (33-25-5) this season with two shutouts and a 1.34 GAA.
“We drafted him, developed him and have watched him become an NHL goalie that was good enough to be the runner-up for rookie of the year last season,” general manager Ken Holland said. “He’s a workhorse who you can put in net night after night.”
Detroit has a comfortable lead atop the Central Division while Anaheim clearly needs the points more. The Ducks are in 11th place in the West, but well within striking distance of the crowded top eight.
Todd Marchant scored his first goal of the season as Anaheim ended a five-game slide with a 3-2 victory over Colorado on Sunday.
“This is the best time of the year – to be playing for something,” Marchant said. “It was a big two points for our hockey club, and now hopefully this can jump-start us.”
General manager Bob Murray tried to jump-start his club before the trade deadline by acquiring Brad Winchester from St. Louis for a 2012 third-round pick. Winchester, a checking forward, had nine goals, 14 points and 86 penalty minutes in 57 games with the Blues.
“Brad plays both ends of the ice and he plays hard,” Murray told the Ducks’ official website. “We tried to get him last year in free agency and he wanted to go back to St. Louis.”
The Ducks will look to slow down Henrik Zetterberg, who has six points against them this season and 16 in the last seven meetings.
With No. 1 goalie Jonas Hiller likely still out with dizziness, Anaheim will probably give Dan Ellis his third start with the club. Ellis, acquired Thursday from Tampa Bay, is 0-3-0 with a 4.73 GAA in his last three starts against the Red Wings.
Both teams excel on the power play, with Anaheim at 22.2 percent and Detroit at 21.7. The Ducks, though, are in a 1-for-20 slump while the Red Wings are 5 for 14 in their last four games.
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