Preview: A difficult stretch of schedule continues, with the Wild beginning a home-and-home with Detroit. The Wild has lost two in a row and four of five dating back to a 3-2 overtime loss to the Red Wings on Oct. 15. The Red Wings won their first five before consecutive one-sided losses at Washington (7-1) and Columbus (4-1), two games goaltender Jimmy Howard missed while attending the birth of his child.
Players to watch: Wild C Matt Cullen got his team-leading fourth goal Thursday against Anaheim and is tied for second on the team in points (4-1-5). W Dany Heatley leads the team with six points (2-4-6). Guillaume Latendresse (1-4-5) will skate on the top line Saturday night with Mikko Koivu and Heatley. Wild goaltender Josh Harding makes his second start of the season, both against Detroit. Harding made 38 saves in a 3-2 overtime loss to Detroit on Oct. 15. RW Johan Franzen (4-3-7) and C Valtteri Filppula (2-5-7) led the Red Wings in scoring before Friday night. Howard is 7-1-1 all-time vs. Minnesota. Ty Conklin is 2-4-2 all-time.
Numbers: Minnesota is 0-3-3 in its past four meetings with Detroit, 1-4-2 in its past seven. The Wild is 5-8-8 vs. Detroit at Xcel Energy Center. ... Minnesota ranks third in the NHL with 242 hits, led by Cal Clutterbuck's 36. ... Seven of the Wild's nine games this season have been decided by one goal. ... Two power-play goals vs. Anaheim ended an 0-for-22 power-play streak for the Wild. ... The Wild is 27th in the league in penalty kill (74.2 percent).
Injuries: D Greg Zanon (groin), D Clayton Stoner (finger) and D Mike Lundin (back) are out for the Wild. For Detroit, D Mike Commodore, out since Sept. 28 because of a sprained knee, has been cleared to play. W Jan Mursak (broken ankle) is out.