Jets take winning streak to Detroit
It's been more than a month since the Detroit Red Wings lost at home. There's a good chance their success at Joe Louis Arena will continue with Pavel Datsyuk on the ice.
Despite some lower-body soreness, Datsyuk is expected to play when the Red Wings try to extend their home winning streak to nine games Saturday night (CBC, CBCSports.cs, 7 p.m. ET) against a Winnipeg Jets team that has won a season-high four in a row.
After two straight losses to conclude a three-game trip, Detroit (17-9-1) beat Phoenix 5-2 on Thursday night for its eighth consecutive victory at Joe Louis Arena. In the midst of their longest home winning stretch since a 13-game run Dec. 20, 2006-Feb. 21, 2007, the Red Wings last lost at home 4-1 to Calgary on Nov. 3.
An NHL-best 11-2-1 at Joe Louis, Detroit has outscored opponents 36-12 over its last eight home contests. Datsyuk, tied for the team lead with 26 points (eight goals and 18 assists), will play after leaving Thursday's victory with some nagging soreness. He has four goals and six assists in nine career games against the Jets franchise.
"We knew he was a bit sore going into the game, didn't get sore or anything like that. He'll be fine," coach Mike Babcock said.
Valtteri Filppula was held without a point in four games when the Jets were based in Atlanta, but has six goals and three assists in his last seven games overall. Filppula had one of each Thursday in his return after missing a game with a cut on his shin.
He has five goals and eight assists during the Red Wings' home winning streak.
Detroit, which scored all of its goals in the first period Thursday, has outscored opponents 15-0 in the first 20 minutes over the last nine games.
"I think we got a really good start, and then were able to keep the lead. That's the main thing," Filppula said.
Jimmy Howard, who stopped 30 shots against the Coyotes, has a 1.88 goals-against average while winning eight of his last nine starts. However, he's 0-2-0 with a 4.44 GAA against the Jets franchise.
Winnipeg (13-11-4) did all its scoring in the first two periods en route to a 4-2 win over Carolina on Friday to conclude a 4-1-0 homestand. Evander Kane and Dustin Byfuglien each had a goal with an assist while Blake Wheeler recorded three assists for the Jets, who own an 11-5 scoring advantage during the four-game run.
Wheeler has two goals and nine assists over his last 10 games while Kane has 10 and four assists in his last 11. Ondrej Pavelec, who has stopped 95 of 98 shots during a personal three-game winning streak, is likely to be in net after Chris Mason made 21 saves against the Hurricanes.
Though Winnipeg's recent success has come at home, it's 1-3-3 in its last seven road games.
"I think our biggest challenge is going to try to be to play that same game on the road," Wheeler said.
The Jets franchise has won two straight over the Red Wings, including 2-0 at Detroit on Nov. 25, 2009.