Now it gets tougher for the Ducks, winners of three in a row and moving closer to the Pacific Division leaders. Doesn't it always when the Detroit Red Wings come to the Arrowhead Pond?
"They've given a lot of franchises a lot of trouble for about the last 10 years," Coach Craig Hartsburg said of Detroit, making its first Anaheim appearance since sweeping the Ducks from the Stanley Cup playoffs last spring.
"I think we certainly look at them as probably being the best team in the league."
Detroit goalie Chris Osgood is sidelined because of a hand injury. The Kris Draper-Darren McCarty-Kirk Maltby line is also sidelined because of injuries.
But Detroit is the hottest team in the league, winning its last five. The Red Wings lead the league in victories (21), points (46) and goals (114).
The Ducks gave up three power-play goals and lost their first game against the Red Wings, 6-3, Nov. 15 at Detroit. Hartsburg said his team has improved a good deal since then.
"We've played some games recently where we've been rewarded for the hard work we've put in," Hartsburg said. "The last three or four weeks, we've gotten better as a group. We're excited about the direction we're going."
The Ducks recalled winger Frank Banham and defenseman Dan Trebil from Cincinnati of the American Hockey League on Saturday, a day before the NHL's holiday roster freeze begins.
Left wing Mike Leclerc and defenseman Pascal Trepanier will not play tonight because of injuries. Leclerc suffered an elbow injury and Trepanier hit his head on the ice during Friday's 2-0 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks.
Defenseman Fredrik Olausson will play tonight after being sidelined for the last two games because of flu. . . . Defenseman Pavel Trnka will not play because of a groin strain. He may play Wednesday against the Phoenix Coyotes, the Ducks' final game before a three-day holiday break.
5, Channel 9
* Site--Arrowhead Pond.
* Radio--XTRA (690).
* Records--Ducks 16-13-4-1, Red Wings 21-8-3-1.
* Record vs. Red Wings--0-1.
* Update--Detroit has been almost invincible in going 15-3-1 at Joe Louis Arena. But the Red Wings are less impressive on the road, posting a 6-5-2-1 record. Detroit leads the all-time series between the teams, 16-4-5. But that doesn't include an 8-0 playoff record. Duck goalie Guy Hebert's shutout Friday lowered his goals-against average to 2.07, fifth-best in the NHL going into Saturday's games. Hebert's save percentage of .925 is third-best. He also is tied for the league lead with three shutouts.
* Tickets--(714) 740-2000.