Red Wings at Ducks
The Anaheim Ducks are trying to nudge their way into playoff position with 11 games remaining, sitting in fourth place in the Pacific Division and ninth in the tightly bunched Western Conference. That makes Friday's matchup almost a must win for the Ducks as they continue a four-game homestand against the skidding Detroit Red Wings.
Anaheim is two points behind Los Angeles for third in the division and one back of Dallas for the second wild card in the West after ending a three-game slide with a 3-0 win over Vancouver on Wednesday night. "We just worry about us," Ducks goaltender John Gibson insisted. "We can't be looking at other teams and we have to keep ourselves accountable and worry about what we have to do." Anaheim has earned points in 10 of its last 11 home games (8-1-2) as it prepares to face the Red Wings, who arrive in Anaheim riding a season-worst eight-game losing streak (0-7-1). Detroit also has lost seven straight away from home as it makes the fourth stop of a five-game road trip.
TV: 10 p.m. ET, Sportsnet1, FS Detroit, FS West (Anaheim)
ABOUT THE RED WINGS (26-33-11): The one positive for Detroit in Thursday's 4-1 loss to Los Angeles was the return of center Frans Nielsen to the lineup after sitting out the previous three games because of concussion-like symptoms. Nielsen collected an assist on Gustav Nyquist's tying power-play goal early in the third period before a fluke goal and a pair of tallies in the final 90 seconds made the final score deceptive. Nyquist has scored in back-to-back contests after enduring an 11-game goal drought.
ABOUT THE DUCKS (35-24-12): Gibson rebounded from a pair of four-goal outings by turning aside 32 shots against the Canucks to earn his third shutout and improve to 9-3-1 with a league-best .943 save percentage since the All-Star break. "He has always played so good for us and has been good when we have been losing too," said forward Jason Chimera, who collected his first goal and assist with the Ducks since his acquisition from the New York Islanders. Ondrej Kase ended a 10-game point drought with an assist Wednesday.
1. Anaheim has killed off 26 consecutive penalties at home.
2. Detroit G Jimmy Howard has lost five straight starts but is 10-5-2 with three shutouts versus Anaheim.
3. Ducks C Ryan Kesler has only one assist in the past 14 games.