The Minnesota Wild will try to bounce back from their first loss of the young season when they visit the Detroit Red Wings for Friday's tilt at Joe Louis Arena.
The Wild opened the season with consecutive wins before losing Tuesday's home game against Nashville. Martin Erat scored the game-winner just after the midway point of the third period, and Chris Mason stopped 29 shots to help the Predators hold on for the 3-1 win at Xcel Energy Center.
Dany Heatley provided the lone score for the Wild and Niklas Backstrom made 23 saves in defeat. Zach Parise notched an assist in the loss, giving him a point in all three games this season.
The deciding score came during a 4-on-4 after Minnesota's goaltender made a bad decision. Backstrom moved well out of his net to try and clear the puck up the right-wing side, but Erat was able to intercept the clearing attempt before skating around the goaltender for the easy score.
"I don't know if I would do it different because I got to the puck first. I just have to beat him getting it to the outside," Backstrom said about the play.
Minnesota is expected to go with goaltender Josh Harding in Friday's contest.
The Wild are playing four of their next six games on the road. Minnesota struggled mightily as the guest last season, going 15-19-7 away from St. Paul.
Detroit has lost two of three out of the gate and Mike Babcock's club was handed a 2-1 loss by the Dallas Stars in its home opener on Tuesday. Michael Ryder scored his first two goals of the season to help Dallas earn the road win. The Red Wings were 31-7-3 as the home team in 2011-12.
Rookie Damien Brunner lit the lamp with 3.4 seconds remaining in the third period for the Red Wings, converting a feed from Pavel Datsyuk. Jimmy Howard played well in defeat, stopping 30 shots.
One area that continues to be troublesome for Detroit is the power play. The Red Wings were 0-for-4 on the power play and nearly surrendered a short-handed goal. Howard, though, made a nifty save on Trevor Daley on an odd-man rush in the second period.
Detroit has yet to score on 15 power plays through its first three games.
"It's still early, but it is also a short season and we have to win games. We can't win one and lose two," Red Wings forward Henrik Zetterberg.
Although the season is not even a week old the Red Wings have been decimated by injuries. The latest addition to the walking wounded is defenseman Ian White, who had surgery Wednesday morning to repair a deep laceration in his leg.
White was cut just above his knee by the skate blade of Howard during Tuesday's loss to the Stars and he's expected to miss 2-to-3 weeks of action. The news comes just one day after the team placed defenseman Carlo Colaiacovo on injured reserve with a shoulder injury, which could sideline him for several weeks.
The Red Wings will at least get Jakub Kindl back on the blue line tonight as he's expected to be activated from injured reserve to make his season debut on Friday. Forwards Darren Helm (back) and Todd Bertuzzi (flu) are also expected to play their first games of the season.
Fellow defenseman Jonathan Ericsson is questionable for the game with a shoulder injury, while forwards Valtteri Filppula (knee) and Mikael Samuelsson (groin) could also play on Friday.
Detroit has won five of its last seven matchups against the Wild and Minnesota has dropped six of eight in the Motor City.