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Red Wings shoot for 19th straight home win vs. Ducks

Forgive the Red Wings if they are looking past the Ducks and towards this weekend when they could have a chance at matching the longest home winning streak in NHL history.

After all, wins over Anaheim at Joe Louis Arena are almost a given for Detroit.

The Red Wings aim to make it 19 straight victories as the host this evening with an eighth consecutive defeat of the surging Ducks in Motown.

Detroit's current string of home victories is a franchise high and the longest in the NHL since the Philadelphia Flyers tied the league record by winning 20 in a row during the 1975-76 season. The mark was first set by the 1929-1930 Boston Bruins.

The Red Wings have not suffered a loss at home since Nov. 3 and returned off a 2-2-1 road trip that ended with two straight defeats to knock off the Oilers 4-2 on Wednesday in the first of six in a row at home. The game also began a span of 11 of their next 14 at Joe Louis Arena for the NHL-leading Red Wings.

Following a two-goal setback in Phoenix on Monday, Detroit got third-period goals from Drew Miller and Henrik Zetterberg to put away the Oilers. Cory Emmerton and Johan Franzen also scored to improve Detroit to 21-2-1 as the hosting club this season. Still, the Red Wings are just 15-15-1 on the road but lead the NHL with 74 points, one more than both the Canucks and Rangers.

Detroit was able to avoid a letdown at the start of its lengthy homestand and with a victory tonight, it will have a chance to even the NHL record on Sunday versus Philadelphia.

"People that don't travel with us and just watch home games have no idea how hard it is to come back and what a grind it is," Detroit coach Mike Babcock said. "This game is always a tough one to win. We knew that coming in."

Adding to the potential trip up was the fact that starting goaltender Jimmy Howard remains out with a broken right index finger. Joey MacDonald again got the start for the league's wins leader and made 15 saves.

It will be either MacDonald or Ty Conklin in net for the Red Wings tonight as they try to avoid their first loss at home to the Ducks since Feb. 10, 2008. Detroit has won seven in a row and 16 of the last 17 as the host in this series and holds an all-time home record versus Anaheim of 29-3-0 with three ties.

Detroit shut out visiting Anaheim 5-0 in the first of four meetings this year on Nov. 5 and added a 4-2 road victory over the Ducks later in the month to give it a win in five of six and 10 of the last 13 encounters overall.

Franzen, Zetterberg, Nicklas Lidstrom and Brad Stuart all have a pair of goals versus the Ducks this year, while Franzen and Pavel Datsyuk have added three assists in the two meetings as well.

Saku Koivu and Teemu Selanne have the goals for the Ducks, who are 11-2-2 since Jan. 6, when they were 20 points out of a playoff spot. They have halved that deficit since and sit 10 points behind the eighth-place Coyotes.

Anaheim picked up its second straight victory on Wednesday, logging a 3-2 overtime win over Carolina. Corey Perry netted the game-winner at the 2:14 mark chasing down a loose puck after perhaps getting away with a tripping call on the Hurricanes' Jussi Jokinen.

Perry sent a quick pass to Sheldon Brookbank before receiving a return feed and firing it home for his first goal in seven games. Koivu added his first goal since a hat trick on Jan. 10 -- a span of 11 straight games without a goal -- and Nick Bonino scored.

"All these games that we win are going to be nail-bitters as we get closer to the playoffs," Ducks head coach Bruce Boudreau said. "So every win we get is going to be huge."

Jonas Hiller came up with 31 saves and is 9-2-2 over his last 14 appearances with a 1.93 goals-against average. Hiller has allowed two goals or fewer in 11 of those outings.

While the Ducks could probably think of a better location to start their eight-game road trip, which equals the longest uninterrupted swing in club history, Perry thinks Wednesday's win could give the club some momentum heading into Detroit.

"We needed it before the road trip. We didn't want to go on the road trip on a losing note. Eight games is a long way and it could make-or-break our season," said Perry, whose club has won four of its past six on the road and won't play at home again until Feb. 26.

While Detroit's Danny Cleary is questionable due to a lower-body injury suffered in the Red Wings' most recent game, forward Tomas Holmstrom is expected to suit up for the 1,000th game of his career this evening. He is set to become the 272nd player in league history to reach that figure and the sixth to skate in 1,000 games with the Red Wings.

Lidstrom, meanwhile, will match Alex Delvecchio (1,549) for second place on the Red Wings' all-time games played list this evening.