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NHL Preview from The Sports Network



Saturday, January 18th (All times Eastern)

Los Angeles Kings (29-14-5) at Detroit Red Wings (20-17-10), 7 p.m.

(SportsNetwork.com) - The Detroit Red Wings have been playing without some of their top scorers recently and it has really showed over the last two games.

Although none of the injured forwards are expected back on Saturday, the hobbled Red Wings will try to snap out of a lengthy scoreless drought when they host the Los Angeles Kings at Joe Louis Arena.

The injury-plagued Red Wings were shut out for the second consecutive outing and third time in nine games Thursday night against the New York Rangers, losing by a 1-0 score for the second game in a row. Detroit also dropped a 1-0 decision Sunday night in Anaheim.

Detroit has played the last five games without star forward Pavel Datsyuk and he was placed on injured reserve on Thursday due to his lower-body issue. Fellow forwards Daniel Alfredsson (back), Johan Franzen (head) and Darren Helm (groin/shoulder) are also expected to miss Saturday's game, as is defenseman Jonathan Ericsson, who is still sidelined with broken ribs.

The Red Wings hope another game against Los Angeles can get their offensive back on track. Detroit beat the Kings in L.A. last Saturday by a 3-1 score, but hasn't hit the net in two straight regulation losses since then.

Detroit recently wrapped a five-game road trip with a 2-3-0 record after falling Thursday in New York City. Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist came out on top of a goaltending duel with Jimmy Howard after Mats Zuccarello scored the game's only goal with 5:58 remaining at Madison Square Garden.

Lundqvist turned away 38 shots and got the better of Howard, who returned from a hip flexor injury to stop 47-of-48 shots in a hard-luck defeat.

A razor-sharp Howard withstood all 35 shots he faced over the first two periods, but the Rangers finally got one past the Detroit netminder on their 45th chance of the game.

"Our team played hard," Red Wings head coach Mike Babcock said. "I thought we had good structure."

Although they are only 6-10-7 as the host this season, the Red Wings hope to get the offense going tonight at the start of a five-game homestand. Detroit has lost its last two home games and hasn't won at Joe Louis Arena since a 3-2 overtime victory against Calgary on Dec. 19.

The Kings have lost two straight, three of four and six of their past eight meetings against the Wings and Detroit has claimed four in a row in the Motor City. Los Angeles has been outscored by a combined margin of 18-8 during its losing streak at the Joe.

However, L.A. is 2-0 since losing last week to the Red Wings, posting a 1-0 home win Monday against Vancouver before notching an impressive 4-1 win Thursday in St. Louis. The win over the Blues came at the start of a five-game road trip and improved the Kings' away record this season to 13-8-2.

Jonathan Quick made 28 stops, while Trevor Lewis scored twice in the third period to help Los Angeles claim the recent win over the Blues at Scottrade Center. Quick improved to 4-1-1 since returning from a 24-game absence due to a groin injury.

"He's a number one goalie. Like everybody that has a number one goalie, he gives you the stability. He made some big saves in the third period. He did a good job tonight," Kings coach Darryl Sutter said.

Jake Muzzin tallied in the first period and Jeff Carter added an empty netter for the Kings.

L.A. will continue its swing Monday in Boston before visiting Columbus the following night. The trip will end Thursday in Anaheim when the Kings begin a home-and-home series with their geographical rivals from Orange County.

01/18 10:48:50 ET

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