Balanced scoring has been a staple of the Detroit Red Wings this season, but Danny Cleary's production is a welcome surprise.
Cleary looks to extend a pair of career-high scoring streaks and help the Red Wings continue their dominance of the Minnesota Wild on Friday night.
Detroit (12-3-1) has received goals from 16 players, but Cleary is the surprise leader with nine after he had 15 last season.
One more goal will put the right wing halfway to his career high set in consecutive seasons from 2006-08, and his recent play gives reason to believe he can get there quickly.
Cleary has put together career-high streaks of six consecutive games with a goal and eight with at least one point. He's totaled eight goals and four assists over the last eight games after scoring twice in Wednesday's 7-3 win over St. Louis.
Detroit has received eight two-goal games this season from seven players with Cleary the only one to get two, and both have come in the last three contests.
"I don't know how to explain it. Other than the line is playing good and I feel healthy and I feel good on the ice," Cleary said. "When I get the puck, I'm trying to shoot it on the net and good things will happen."
Cleary is a major reason the Red Wings have won the first four of this six-game homestand, which concludes against Calgary on Sunday.
Detroit is 8-1-1 at home, and Cleary may be in position to continue his outstanding surge with a visit from Minnesota (9-6-2). In 36 games against the Wild, he has 11 goals and 25 points, one fewer than his personal best versus Columbus.
Detroit has dominated Minnesota in the last 18 meetings, going 14-2-2. The club also holds a 13-3-1 advantage with a tie in the all-time series at Joe Louis Arena.
The Wild are looking to ride their luck to a third consecutive win after beating Anaheim 2-1 on Wednesday on a goal that bounced off of Antti Miettinen's shoulder with 1:24 remaining in overtime.
"We're staying in games, but we can't be too fooled by ourselves either," coach Todd Richards said. "We're finding ways to win, you've got to give the guys credit for that. But we have to be better. We have to be more consistent in our play."
Minnesota's consecutive wins were also sparked by Niklas Backstrom, who gave up two goals on 66 shots and has a 1.91 goals-against average this season.
Backstrom, however, is expected to be rested Friday as Richards gives backup Jose Theodore his fourth start.
Theodore is 1-2-0 with a 3.02 GAA, but has won two of his last three meetings with Detroit behind a 2.35 GAA.
Similar to Cleary, Cal Clutterbuck is the Wild's surprise scoring leader with six goals after getting a career-high 13 last season. The right wing has four goals over the last six games.
He has one goal in eight meetings with Detroit.
AccuScore has powered more than 10,000 simulations for every NHL game on ESPN.com, calculating how each team's performance changes in response to game conditions and opponent's abilities. Each game is simulated and the game is replayed a minimum of 10,000 times to generate forecasted winning percentages.