The Detroit Red Wings find themselves in the midst of a crowded playoff race in the Western Conference. A brief return home could net them two big points given their recent history at Joe Louis Arena against the Minnesota Wild.
The Red Wings try to extend a 13-game home point streak over the Wild and deal the Northwest Division co-leaders a setback in Minnesota's finale of a three- game trip.
Detroit has followed up a three-game slide with back-to-back road victories in Edmonton and Vancouver. The Red Wings return home looking to win three straight for the first time since Feb. 7-10 before hitting the road for another four in a row beginning Friday in Anaheim.
Currently seventh in the West with 33 points, Detroit is one point behind St. Louis and Vancouver, but just three points ahead of a trio of other teams.
The Red Wings look for two big points on Wednesday and are 10-0-3 in their last 13 at home versus the Wild. That includes a 5-3 victory on Jan. 25 and Detroit has not dropped a home decision in regulation to Minnesota since Jan. 3, 2006.
The Wild did beat the Red Wings for just the third time in the past nine meetings overall by claiming a 3-2 victory at home on Feb. 17.
Detroit finished up a three-game road trip with Saturday's 5-2 victory over Vancouver. The Canucks' Alex Burrows scored just six seconds into the game, but Justin Abdelkader answered six minutes later and Henrik Zetterberg put the Red Wings up for good with a goal at the 13:57 mark of the second.
Zetterberg and Abdelkader both scored twice, Daniel Cleary had a goal and Pavel Datsyuk notched three assists.
"Today was a tough start, but we just stuck with it and tried to keep it simple," said Zetterberg, who scored his first goals in 11 games. He has 30 points in 29 games this season.
Jimmy Howard posted 33 saves for the Red Wings, including a stop on a second- period penalty shot with his club up just a goal.
Kyle Quincey missed Saturday's game with a fractured cheekbone and broken facial bone suffered when he was hit in the face by a puck in Friday's 3-2 overtime win over the Oilers. He could miss 4-to-6 weeks and was replaced in Saturday's lineup by Ian White.
The Wild will try to pick up a rare regulation victory in Detroit after snapping an 11-game slide in Vancouver with Monday's 3-1 victory over the Canucks. It was Minnesota's first victory there since Jan. 31, 2009 and it put the Wild two points ahead of the Canucks for first place in the Northwest standings.
"There's no question they have been the class of the division the last few years and they are the team to beat coming into just about every season in our division, so we know how important it is to come in here and finally get a win," said forward Matt Cullen, who scored in the victory.
The Wild enter play on Wednesday once again even with the Canucks atop the division after Vancouver beat St. Louis on Tuesday. Minnesota does have a game in hand.
Niklas Backstrom made 35 saves in Monday's win, while Jonas Brodin and Charlie Coyle also had a goal. Pierre-Marc Bouchard had two assists for the Wild, who have won three straight games for the first time this season as well as five of their last six.
Minnesota is shooting tonight for its longest winning streak since taking seven straight from Nov. 28-Dec. 10 of last year.