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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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Scoreboard
NBA
Final
ORL 100
MIL 115
Final
IND 103
NYK 82
4th
MEM 74
DEN 49
 
10:30pm Tonight
LAL
CHI
Final
PROV 83
DEP 72
Final
RUTG 51
MSU 71
Final
ARMY 71
BU 67
 
Final
RFLSH 75
BRY 68
 
Final
MERC 75
CHAT 72
 
Final
LIU 67
CCST 55
 
Final
TOWS 74
COC 70
 
Final
UMASS 66
DAY 64
 
Final
FUR 59
ETST 55
 
Final
ODU 71
FIU 56
 
Final
RMU 87
FD 65
 
Final
CHAR 86
FATL 61
 
Final
LIB 53
HIGH 72
 
Final
UNF 86
KNST 67
 
Final
FLGC 78
LIP 62
 
Final
OSU 80
MD 56
Final
Terriers 73
MNTER 67
 
Final
STET 85
NKENTUCKY 75
 
Final
WAGN 75
SHU 64
 
Final
GMAS 68
STLU 60
 
Final
JVU 65
USCU 78
 
Final
VMI 70
WCU 85
 
Final
LATU 69
WKENT 56
Final
UNCG 42
WOFF 58
 
Final
DET 93
YOUNG 87
 
Final
GSOUT 83
APP 46
 
Final
TENNM 81
EILL 51
 
Final
GHND 64
HC 54
 
2nd
CIN 53
UCONN 39
 
2nd
NDST 46
DEN 45
 
2nd
SD 51
MAST 64
 
2nd
UWMIL 63
ILLCH 56
 
2nd
BEL 94
JVST 72
 
2nd
SMISS 54
MARS 69
 
2nd
TXSA 57
MTST 53
 
2nd
PETE 41
RIDE 45
 
2nd
SEMIZ 57
SIUE 67
 
2nd
TENST 60
TENT 51
 
2nd
NDAK 56
WEBER 63
 
2nd
SALA 64
LALAF 62
 
2nd
ARKST 45
ARKLR 46
 
Half
TROY 31
LAMON 21
 
2nd
TXARL 46
UGST 45
 
1st
MURST 22
EKENT 25
 
1st
NCOL 38
IDST 39
 
1st
MIZZ 21
KENT 27
 
1st
GONZ 28
PORT 25
 
1st
UTEP 20
UAB 27
 
1st
GRCN 24
UMKC 18
 
1st
WLVRN 25
CHIST 19
 
1st
USC 11
COL 8
 
10:00pm Tonight
UCI
CPSL
 
10:00pm Tonight
CSNO
HAW
 
10:00pm Tonight
PAC
PEPP
 
10:00pm Tonight
SDU
SCU
 
10:00pm Tonight
UCD
UCSB
 
10:00pm Tonight
UCLA
UTAH
10:05pm Tonight
PORST
MONT
 
10:05pm Tonight
SACST
MNTST
 
10:30pm Tonight
CSFU
LBSU
 
10:30pm Tonight
GAELS
LMU
 
11:00pm Tonight
WASU
CAL
11:00pm Tonight
BYU
USF
 
Final
NYI 2
BOS 5
 
Final
NYR 0
MON 1
 
Final
PHI 5
WIN 2
 
3rd
TOR 1
ARI 2
 
3rd
FLA 2
CLB 2
 
3rd
TAM 5
DET 1
 
2nd
STL 3
NAS 3
 
1st Intermission
CAL 0
MIN 1
 
1st
EDM 0
BUF 1
 
10:00pm Tonight
SJS
ANA