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Wild Face Wings in Matinée #mnwild

(Sports Network) – The Detroit Red Wings will take aim at a fifth straight victory this afternoon, when they visit the Minnesota Wild for a battle at Xcel Energy Center.

The Central Division-leading Red Wings have matched their season high with four wins in a row and Detroit hasn’t claimed five consecutive victories since a seven-game tear from March 20-April 1 of last season.

Detroit’s two most recent wins came at the start of a three-game road trip and Mike Babcock’s club will try to complete a perfect trek today. The Red Wings recorded a 6-2 victory Thursday in Tampa and notched a close regulation win the following night against the Florida Panthers.

Todd Bertuzzi scored twice, including the go-ahead goal in the third period, as the Red Wings knocked off Panthers, 4-3, at BankAtlantic Center. Bertuzzi has scored six goals over a four-game stretch, giving him 14 markers on the season.

“I think we’re really concentrating on playing solid defense,” Bertuzzi said. “When we do that we ended up scoring a lot.”

Pavel Datsyuk collected a goal and an assist for the Red Wings, who are eight points ahead of Nashville atop the Central Division. Danny Cleary tallied a goal while Joey MacDonald stopped 29 shots in the win.

Detroit has a 19-8-2 road record this season, tying the Wings with Philadelphia for the most away wins in the NHL.

Minnesota will try to build off Friday’s win over Anaheim when it takes the ice this afternoon. The Wild, who are seeded 10th in the West and are just one point out of the conference’s final playoff spot, ended a two-game slide and dealt the Ducks a 5-1 setback.

Kyle Brodziak had a goal and two assists to lead the rout at Xcel Energy Center. Mikko Koivu, Matt Cullen, Eric Nystrom and Martin Havlat also lit the lamp for the Wild, while Niklas Backstrom made 29 saves.

“We definitely deserve it [the win] with the way we’ve been playing the last couple games,” Wild forward Cal Clutterbuck said. “You keep working hard and those things will come through for you.”

Minnesota defenseman Marek Zidlicky returned to the lineup after missing the last 21 games with a shoulder injury. However, it was not all good news for the Wild as Koivu left the game in the first period with a hand injury after blocking a shot. The extent of the injury has yet to be revealed, but Koivu is doubtful for today’s contest.

The Wild are 15-12-2 as the host this season and are playing the middle test of a three-game homestand today. They will complete the residency Tuesday against Edmonton.

Detroit and the Wild have split two meetings this year, with each club taking a game on the road. The Red Wings have taken three of four and five of seven overall in this series and Detroit has also claimed wins in two of three and five of its last seven trips to St. Paul.

Photographs by Micah Taylor, clairity, and Fibonacci Blue used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.