The Detroit Red Wings have had almost a week to try and figure out how to fix their road game.
Set to open the post-All-Star break schedule with four in a row away from Detroit, the Red Wings try to get their road mark back to .500 this evening against the Calgary Flames.
A 3-1 win over the Blues on Jan. 23 was the Red Wings' seventh in a row overall and extended their club-record home win streak to 17 straight. However, they suffered a 7-2 pounding in Montreal last Wednesday, dropping the club to 13-14-0 on the road this year compared to 20-2-1 at home.
Detroit still entered the break atop the NHL standings with 67 points, but that is only two up on St. Louis for the top spot in the Central Division. Nashville and Chicago are only three points off the pace as well, leaving Red Wings head coach Mike Babcock knowing his team needs to improve on the road.
"We were not good tonight. All you have to do is look at the Western standings. With all the parity near the top, we'd like to be better," said Babcock after the loss in Montreal. "Definitely didn't want to give up seven goals and you just can't do that anyway. I'm going to the break humbled."
Jimmy Howard allowed four goals on 12 shots and didn't make it out of the first period for the Red Wings. He then made 11 saves on 14 shots faced for Team Chara in the club's 12-9 win over Team Alfredsson in Sunday's All-Star Game. Teammate Pavel Datsyuk set up three goals for the winning side after being taken first overall in the All-Star fantasy draft.
"I'm very appreciative to be taken first," said Datsyuk during Thursday's selection. "It was kind of a surprise, actually."
Jarome Iginla was a teammate of Howard and Datsyuk in Sunday's game, notching a goal and two assists. Iginla, who earlier this year scored his 500th career goal, will be an opponent tonight looking to keep his club in the playoff race.
Calgary, which had a two-game win streak end with a hard-luck 1-0 loss to the Sharks a week ago, is tied for 10th overall in the West with 52 points, three back of a playoff spot.
The Flames also made a roster move over the break, trading veteran center Brendan Morrison to the Chicago Blackhawks for defensive prospect Brian Connelly. Morrison had four goals and seven assists in 28 contests this year.
"We felt it was going to be difficult for us to find a spot for Brendan or get him significant ice-time," Flames general manager Jay Feaster said. "In Brian Connelly we obtain a 25-year-old highly skilled AHL All-Star defenseman who is still a legitimate prospect."
The Flames have lost their past two games in Calgary following an eight-game home win streak.
Tonight is the fourth and final regular-season meeting between the Flames and Red Wings. Calgary has won two of three, but Detroit has still taken six of the past eight encounters overall and four its last five in Calgary.
The Red Wings are also likely to have captain Nicklas Lidstrom in action tonight after he sat out the game in Montreal due to flu-like symptoms. That ended the defenseman's streak of 213 consecutive games played.