Although the Detroit Red Wings still haven't won on the road in more than a month, they seem to be getting a bit closer to earning two points away from Joe Louis Arena.
The Red Wings look to avoid losing six straight road games in a single season for the first time in nearly a quarter-century Saturday when they face a Los Angeles Kings team seeking its fourth straight victory.
Detroit (9-7-1) had the NHL's second-best road record last season at 26-11-4 but currently has the league's third-worst mark at 2-5-0. It hasn't won away from home since beating Minnesota in overtime Oct. 15, getting outscored 19-5 in its last five road contests with no goals from team leaders Johan Franzen (nine) and Nicklas Lidstrom (six).
The Red Wings haven't lost six in a row on the road in one season since Dec. 7-27, 1987.
"We're at the point now where we have to decide what kind of team we want to be," coach Mike Babcock said after Thursday's 5-2 loss at San Jose. "You can't let this snowball on you. You have to win on the road and you have to win at home."
Detroit came close to ending the road drought Tuesday in the opener of its four-game trip, losing 2-1 to St. Louis, and there were some positive signs Thursday despite the more lopsided result.
The Red Wings kept the pressure on the Sharks, firing 42 shots on goal, and Danny Cleary and Niklas Kronwall each scored power-play goals. Detroit went 2 for 3 with the man advantage after going 1 for 17 in its previous four road games.
Detroit outplayed the Sharks for much of the first period, outshooting them 17-6, and led 1-0 before San Jose's Joe Pavelski scored 12 seconds before the first intermission. That goal seemed to shift the momentum as the Sharks outscored the Wings 3-0 in the second period.
"It's amazing to me how we played so well at the start yet we gifted a goal right at the end of the period," Babcock said.
The Red Wings, who conclude their road swing Sunday in Anaheim, are making their first trip to Staples Center since a 7-4 victory Feb. 28.
Although Detroit won that meeting, the series has recently shifted in Los Angeles' favor after being dominated by the Wings. The Kings are 5-1-0 against Detroit after losing 22 of the previous 24 meetings.
Los Angeles (10-6-3) enters this game having won three straight and four of five following a five-game skid. It defeated rival Anaheim 5-3 on Thursday to sweep a home-and-home series from the Ducks.
"Two wins against these guys really builds our confidence," said Anze Kopitar, who scored the tiebreaking goal Thursday with 3:01 to play.
Kopitar, leading the Kings with nine goals and 23 points, had four goals and three assists as Los Angeles went 3-1-0 against the Red Wings last season.
Jonathan Quick has been in goal for each of the last six meetings with Detroit, recording a 2.40 goals-against average and a shutout. He has a 1.96 GAA during the Kings' three-game winning streak.
Detroit's Jimmy Howard, who allowed four goals on 21 shots Thursday before being replaced by Ty Conklin, is 1-4-0 with a 3.64 GAA in his last five starts against the Kings. Conklin has won his last four starts versus Los Angeles.
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.