Thanks to a pair of shutouts, the Detroit Red Wings are on the verge of matching their best start of the past 38 seasons.
The Red Wings will try to accomplish that feat while adding to their scoreless streak and their recent mastery of the Minnesota Wild on Saturday night at Xcel Energy Center.
After Ty Conklin was in net for Detroit's 3-0 win at Colorado last Saturday, Jimmy Howard stopped 25 shots in a 2-0 victory over defending Western Conference champion Vancouver on Thursday night. The scoreless streak stayed intact thanks partly to a video review which showed a Canucks goal was scored after time expired in the second period.
"Obviously, you've got to give credit to our goalies," forward Justin Abdelkader said. "Conks did a great job in Colorado, and Jimmy did a great job tonight."
Extending its scoreless streak to 121:31 has given Detroit (3-0-0) the chance for its second 4-0 start since winning a team-best six in a row to begin the 1972-73 campaign. The Red Wings last claimed their first four games in 1997-98, a season that ended with them raising a second straight Stanley Cup.
A trip to Minnesota (2-1-1) seems to give Detroit a good to chance repeat that start. The Red Wings are 5-0-1 in their last six matchups with the Wild and 17-2-3 in the past 22, including wins in both trips to St. Paul last season.
Minnesota, though, has been victorious in its two home contests this season and opened a three-game stretch there with a 2-1 shootout victory over Edmonton on Thursday.
Veteran center Matt Cullen tallied his team-high third goal and was one of two Wild players to score in the shootout along with Devin Setoguchi.
The addition of Setoguchi might help the Wild end their woes against the Red Wings. The winger, who has two goals this season, scored a team-best five during San Jose's seven-game triumph over Detroit in last season's Western Conference semifinals.
In this game, he'll try to prevent the Red Wings from posting three consecutive shutouts for the first time since Dec. 11-18, 1955.
Setoguchi will likely play in front of Josh Harding, who hasn't occupied an NHL net since getting pulled from a 6-2 loss in Detroit on March 26, 2010. Harding, who sat out last season while recovering from two torn knee ligaments, is 2-4-1 with a 3.59 goals-against average in eight career appearances against the Red Wings.
"I hope he's excited," coach Mike Yeo said. "I think he's had a great training camp. I thought he's looked great in practice. I think he should feel confident going into the game.
"I hope we as a team recognize that this is his first game that he's played in a long time and we put forth a tremendous effort for him."
Howard, meanwhile, is 6-0-1 with a 1.94 GAA in his last seven starts versus the Wild but might need a better performance from the Red Wings' power play, which is 0 for 16 this season.
Detroit has six power-play goals in its last six games against Minnesota while allowing two in the Wild's 27 chances.
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