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NHL Preview from The Sports Network



Tuesday, March 18th (All times Eastern)

Toronto Maple Leafs (36-25-8) at Detroit Red Wings (30-24-13), 7:30 p.m.

(SportsNetwork.com) - The struggling Detroit Red Wings will try to pick up the pace offensively when they welcome the Toronto Maple Leafs for Tuesday's Atlantic Division battle at Joe Louis Arena.

The Red Wings have scored just three goals over their last four games. The club is 1-3-0 during that stretch, with the lone win coming in a shootout decision against visiting Edmonton on Friday.

The offensive issues are no surprise considering the Red Wings are still playing without a host of key forwards, including captain Henrik Zetterberg and Russian superstar Pavel Datsyuk.

Detroit's sagging offense is making the club's push for a 23rd straight playoff appearance a difficult task. The Red Wings, who last missed the postseason during the spring of 1990, enter Tuesday's action three points behind the New York Rangers for the last playoff berth in the East.

"You can't look ahead at all," Red Wings defenseman Danny DeKeyser told his team's official website. "You have to take it one game at a time. Every game, if you don't get points it could come back and haunt you. It could be the last game of the year, but we don't want to be at that point. We want to be in the playoffs after 82 games."

Detroit managed just one goal in Sunday's 4-1 road loss against the Chicago Blackhawks. The Red Wings trailed the contest 2-1 after 40 minutes before the defending Stanley Cup champions salted away the win by scoring the only two goals of the third period.

"I thought we were in a good situation after two," Red Wings head coach Mike Babcock said. "We were set up and we let it slip away."

Jimmy Howard stopped 26 shots for the reeling Red Wings, who have lost five of their last seven games.

Adding to Detroit's injury problems, forward Justin Abdelkader left Sunday's game with a lower-body injury and did not return. The Red Wings recalled forward Landon Ferraro from the Grand Rapids Griffins of the AHL to take over Abdelkader's place in the roster if he is unable to play on Tuesday.

Ferraro, the son of former NHLer Ray Ferraro, was a second-round pick by Detroit in 2009, but has yet to make his NHL debut. He has 13 goals and 15 assists in 60 games for the Griffins this season.

Howard expects to get the start for Detroit on Tuesday. He is 0-1-1 with a 2.82 goals against average in his career versus the Maple Leafs.

Toronto enters this Original Six clash having lost two of its last three games, but with 80 points, the Leafs are occupying the first of the two wild card spots in the East. Toronto is four points ahead of the eighth-seeded Rangers.

The Maple Leafs fell to 2-2-0 on a five-game road trip after dropping a 4-2 decision at Washington on Sunday. Toronto fell behind 3-0 in the first 10 minutes of the game and never recovered.

Dion Phaneuf and Troy Bodie lit the lamp for the Maple Leafs, while James Reimer stopped 29 shots in defeat.

Reimer could start again on Tuesday with No. 1 netminder Jonathan Bernier currently dealing with a groin strain. Bernier suffered the injury in Thursday's win over Los Angeles and was unable to dress for Sunday's tilt in D.C.

Toronto head coach Randy Carlyle updated Bernier's status after practice on Monday.

"Jonathan Bernier went for an MRI today and it was revealed that he has a low- grade groin strain," Carlyle said. "We don't believe it is week-to-week but rather day-to-day."

If Bernier is unable to dress for tonight's tilt, Drew MacIntyre will serve as the backup once again.

Toronto is 14-14-7 as the visiting team this season. After completing its swing on Tuesday, the Leafs will play seven of their next nine games on home ice.

Detroit is just 13-11-9 at home this season, but the Wings have won two straight at the Joe and are 3-0-1 in their last four games in Motown.

This is the third of four meetings between the Red Wings and Leafs this season. The clubs have split both encounters so far, with each team picking up a shootout win.

Tuesday's game marks the first encounter between the clubs since Toronto recorded a 3-2 win on Jan. 1 in the Winter Classic at Michigan Stadium.

03/18 10:43:12 ET

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Local
Final
ND 77
DUKE 73
Final
SAN 95
CHA 86
Final
NCSU 57
CLEM 68
Final
MEM 70
ECU 58
Final
PHI 89
DET 69
Final
CLE 99
POR 94
Final
TOR 119
SAC 102
Final
MIN 110
BOS 98
Final
ATL 113
BRK 102
Final
HOU 99
DAL 94
Final
NOP 85
DEN 93
Final
NYK 100
OKC 92
Final
SAN 95
CHA 86
Final
UTA 89
LAC 94
Final
PHO 106
WAS 98
7:00pm Tonight
ORL
MIL
 
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IND
NYK
 
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MEM
DEN
 
10:30pm Tonight
LAL
CHI
 
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VERM 44
GTDNS 47
 
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NAVY 64
AMER 54
 
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UMBC 56
BING 68
 
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JMU 88
DEL 82
 
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RICH 86
DUQ 55
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UNCW 82
ELON 65
 
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USB 72
HART 66
 
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WMARY 100
HOF 79
 
Final
COL 54
LAF 59
 
Final
PSU 63
MINN 58
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MAINE 58
UNH 63
 
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DREX 65
NE 60
 
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FORD 63
RIU 64
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SFLA 52
SMU 63
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MARQ 70
SHU 80
Final
LSU 64
SCAR 58
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UCF 62
TEMPL 86
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LONG 64
UNCA 74
 
Final
FSU 82
WAKE 76
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CCAR 68
WINT 75
 
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OU 84
WRST 76
 
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ND 77
DUKE 73
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GHND 0
HC 0
 
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CSOU 77
RAD 84
 
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OKLA 81
TTU 36
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BRAD 57
DRAK 69
 
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BUCK 68
LEH 62
 
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LOYC 47
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ILLST 67
MIZST 57
 
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PEAY 69
MORE 82
 
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SDKST 86
NEOM 64
 
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ARST 73
ORST 55
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HOU 59
RICE 48
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SILL 52
NIOWA 59
Final
NCSU 57
CLEM 68
Final
MEM 70
ECU 58
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MIAMI 50
GT 70
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PURD 83
IND 67
Final
TCU 61
KU 64
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BC 72
LOU 81
Final
MISS 79
MSST 73
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CREI 77
STJ 74
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SJST 52
AFA 66
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ARZ 90
OREG 56
Final
WASH 74
STAN 84
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