Preview: Red Wings visit Devils
The Detroit Red Wings may be without their top two players, but they haven't missed a beat since the Olympic break.
The Red Wings look to extend their winning streak to three games Tuesday night as they visit the New Jersey Devils. Detroit put together one of its best games of the season by breezing to a 6-1 win over the Ottawa Senators on Thursday, while the Devils look to bounce back after dropping a 4-2 decision to the San Jose Sharks on Sunday.
The loss of captain Henrik Zetterberg and stud Pavel Datsyuk hasn't slowed down the Red Wings, who are 6-2-2 in their last 10 games to invigorate their quest for an Eastern Conference playoff spot. A home-and-home series with the Devils - who sit just three points behind Detroit - will go a long way in determining whether the Red Wings have a shot at a top-five seed. New Jersey brings the league's best penalty-killing unit into the game at 87.8 percent.
TV: 7 p.m. ET, FSD (Detroit), MSG (New Jersey)
ABOUT THE RED WINGS (28-20-12): While the timetable for Zetterberg is clear - he'll be out until at least the end of the regular season with a herniated disk in his back - things aren't as cut and dried with Datsyuk. General manager Ken Holland told the Detroit Free Press that the Russian will have his inflamed knee examined by yet another doctor; the first three recommended a non-surgical recovery, but Datsyuk isn't seeing any progress. The skilled center is considered day-to-day, but isn't expect to return to action at any point this week.
ABOUT THE DEVILS (26-23-13): New Jersey may be on the periphery of the Eastern Conference playoff picture, but a pair of losses to the Red Wings will leave the Devils with an even steeper hill to climb. When asked about the significance of Tuesday's game, Devils coach Peter DeBoer bristled.
"We know that," DeBoer told reporters following Monday's practice. "I know that. You guys know that. I don't have much more to say. It's no more important than last night's (game) or the night before and no less important than the one after that."
1. Detroit prevailed 3-1 in its previous encounter in New Jersey on Dec. 6.
2. Devils G Martin Brodeur is 9-9-1 with a 2.20 goals-against average in 19 career games versus the Red Wings.
3. The losing team has scored just one goal in six of the last seven meetings.