The Detroit Red Wings are hoping to finish a dreadful first part of the season on a positive note in Minnesota on Wednesday night.
Mired in the NHL's basement with a 12-34-4 mark and league-low 28 points, Detroit concludes the pre-All-Star break portion of its schedule against the Wild in Saint Paul, Minn.
The Red Wings won't play again until Jan. 31 when they face the Rangers in New York, but for now they are looking to place Monday's 6-3 loss to the Colorado Avalanche in Denver in the rear-view mirror.
Detroit led early behind Tyler Bertuzzi's first-period goal, his team-best 17th, but it all unraveled in typical fashion as Colorado peppered goalie Jimmy Howard with 45 shots. The Avalanche scored four times in the third period to run away with the matinee victory.
While the numbers for Howard are seriously lacking in productivity -- the defeat dropped him to 0-13-2 in his last 15 starts -- Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill pointed out that his goalie gave the club an early chance to win.
"We wouldn't have been in the game if he hadn't played as well as he played, so he was excellent," Blashill said. "He's been really good the last three games. He looks like he's on top of his game."
Detroit lost forward Frans Nielsen and defenseman Mike Green to upper-body injuries in the first and second periods, respectively. The club provided no updates as to their availability Wednesday.
Minnesota battled back three times from one-goal deficits against the Florida Panthers on Monday night, but the Wild fell apart in the final five minutes of a 5-4 loss to the streaking Panthers, who have won five straight.
Florida shocked the Xcel Energy Center crowd when Noel Acciari, battling in front with Wild defenseman Ryan Suter, tallied the game-winner with just 5.6 seconds left on a double deflection that bounced past goalie Alex Stalock.
The win was the first for Florida in Minnesota in almost 10 years -- they won a 3-2 shootout on March 9, 2010 -- and its first victory in regulation ever in Saint Paul. The Wild fell to 10-1-1 at home against the Panthers.
It was a hard loss to take for the home side, who dominated zone time against Florida and won the special teams battle. Minnesota produced two power-play scores and added a short-handed one, while the Panthers had just one marker on the man advantage.
The Wild's power-play unit has found the net 10 times in the last nine games, and Zach Parise's team-leading 19th goal allowed Minnesota to tie it at 3 in the third period. Parise has five markers during a four-game goal streak.
Parise said the Wild's failure to lock down the win at home, where they hold a 13-6-4 mark, was a stinging result during a good night.
"Pretty disheartening," admitted the Minneapolis native. "From getting ourselves back into the driver's seat and feeling like a few more shifts and we had to close it out to not getting a point out of it, that's a tough one right now where we are. That's a tough one to take."
--Field Level Media