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After the losses of two key players, Henrik Zetterberg was expected to anchor the Detroit Red Wings' offense. Facing a team he's enjoyed great success against may help overcome his slow start.
Zetterberg and the Red Wings (3-1-1) continue a four-game road trip against the Anaheim Ducks on Wednesday night at the Honda Center.
The left wing enjoyed a breakout season in 2005-06, setting career-highs with 39 goals - including nine game-winning tallies - and 46 assists. He also was one of the Red Wings' keys on special teams, scoring 17 power-play goals and adding 18 assists.
With Steve Yzerman retired and Brendan Shanahan signing as a free agent with the New York Rangers, Detroit has not gotten the production it expected from Zetterberg. He has only two goals and an assist in five games.
In 11 career games against Anaheim (3-0-2), though, he has four goals and four assists. Last season, he scored three of the Red Wings' nine goals against the Ducks, leading Detroit to a 3-1 record.
Last season, the Red Wings had the best road record in the NHL at 31-7-3. They've continued that domination by winning their first two road games this season including a 3-1 victory over Los Angeles on Monday night.
Robert Lang, also off to a slow start, scored his first two goals of the season and backup goaltender Chris Osgood made 22 saves.
"My job is to be ready to play when I'm asked, but I expect I'll play more as the season goes along because the games won't be as spread out as they are now," said Osgood, who helped Detroit win consecutive Stanley Cup titles in 1997 and 1998.
Six-time Vezina Trophy-winning goaltender Dominik Hasek has a 1.72 goals-against average in four games coming in. He's 7-6 with four ties and a 2.07 GAA in 17 career starts against the Ducks, but hasn't beaten them in three tries since Jan. 2, 2002.
Following this game, the Red Wings continue their road trip Thursday in San Jose and Saturday in Edmonton to face the Oilers in a Western Conference quarterfinals rematch.
Anaheim started its season with three straight wins, but two consecutive shootout losses have them scrambling to get back on track.
The Ducks are coming off a 4-3 defeat to Dallas on Sunday. Andy McDonald tied the score at 3 with 19 seconds to play in regulation, but failed with Ryan Shannon and Samuel Pahlsson to score in the shootout.
"They're a team that can control the puck well. And if you give it to them, you're making their job a lot easier," Ducks defenseman Scott Niedermayer said. "Our game is to control the puck, and we really didn't all that all night long.
"We played harder and we were more aggressive in the third period, but the decisions we made with the puck we have to try and make all the time."
Teemu Selanne, the Ducks' leading scorer with 90 points last season, has failed to record a point in his last two games. He's scored in three of his last four games versus the Red Wings, and has 17 goals and 28 assists in 49 career games against them overall.
The Ducks will close out a five-game homestand Friday versus Minnesota.