Joey MacDonald, Niklas Kronwall, Drew Miller

Red Wings look to make it 20 in a row at home against struggling Flyers


When the Red Wings and Flyers get together Sunday night (7:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN) it’s a chance to see a NHL record-tying game. The Red Wings are looking to win their 20th straight game at home and having to do it against the Philadelphia Flyers presents a curious challenge.

The Flyers, despite their recent struggles losing four of their last five games, have been really good on the road this season. At 18-8-2 they’ve been better on the road than at home (13-9-5) and are coming off a difficult loss in Philly against their divisional rivals the Rangers. After that game defenseman Kimmo Timonen ripped his teammates filling in the role as team captain with Chris Pronger done for the year. While the offense is still there for Philly, the defense and goaltending are lacking. If the Flyers want to play the role of spoiler in Detroit, they’re going to need to be a lot better to pull it off.

Meanwhile for Detroit, they just keep finding ways to win at home. Regulation, overtime, or shootout the Wings have been pulling games out. They haven’t lost at home since November 3 when they fell to Calgary.

While Henrik Zetterberg has slumped this season, Pavel Datsyuk has been brilliant while getting goals from Johan Franzen and stunning offense from Todd Bertuzzi. The Red Wings defensemen also lead the NHL in goals scored from the position.

If there’s a weakness they have now it’s in goal with Jimmy Howard out with a broken finger. While he’s aiming to get back next week, it’s now Joey MacDonald’s team to lead while Ty Conklin struggles. To beat the Wings at home, you have to outwork them and get the crowd out of the game.

The Flyers’ offense is capable of doing that and taking advantage of MacDonald will be the way to do it. Philly will just have to hope that either Ilya Bryzgalov or Sergei Bobrovsky can hold the fort down to prevent the Wings’ offense from overwhelming them.

Blues put Berglund on LTIR, use savings to sign Gomez

Scotte Gomez
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As was the case last season, Scott Gomez accepted a professional tryout offer because he went unsigned over the summer and once again he has used that opportunity to extend his career.

The St. Louis Blues announced that they have signed Gomez to a one-year contract. They didn’t disclose the financial terms, but it’s a two-way deal that comes with a base salary of $575K at the NHL level, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s Jeremy Rutherford.

In order to free up the space necessary to sign him, St. Louis moved Patrik Berglund to the long-term injured reserve list. Berglund had shoulder surgery in August and isn’t expected to be available until January.

Gomez, 35, is coming off of a resurgence campaign where he recorded 34 points in 58 games on a Devils’ team that finished near the bottom of the pack offensively. The two-time Stanley Cup champion will be bringing more than a 1,000 games worth of NHL experience to St. Louis.

He’s not the only veteran forward to make the team off of a PTO as the Blues signed Scottie Upshall on Monday.

NHL key dates for the 2015-16 season

Alex Ovechkin, John Tavares
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Nov. 10 —  NHL General Managers Meeting (Toronto)

At last year’s November meetings, the GMs decided to kill the dry scrape. But these meetings usually serve as a table-setter for the rest of the season. It’s the more in-depth meetings in March where the majority of things get decided.

Nov. 27 — NHL Thanksgiving Showdown: Rangers at Bruins

The first of 12 “NHL on NBC” games in 2015-16. Click here for the full list, including the games on NBCSN.

Dec. 7-8 — NHL Board of Governors Meeting (Pebble Beach)

This is where we could find out about expansion. Will both Las Vegas and Quebec City get the nod? Only one of them? Neither of them?

Jan. 1 — Winter Classic: Canadiens at Bruins

From Gillette Stadium in Foxborough. Please don’t make any “deflated pucks” jokes. You’re better than that.

Jan. 28-Feb. 1 — All-Star Break

This year’s festivities are being held in Nashville, which is a pretty fun town we hear. Skills competition on Saturday the 30th, game on Sunday the 31st. Over/under has been set at 25 goals and 60 percent effort.

Feb. 29 — NHL trade deadline

Leap day! Click here for a list of pending unrestricted free agents, a.k.a. potential rentals.

Mar. 14-16 — NHL General Managers Meeting (Boca Raton)

As mentioned, these are the more in-depth meetings where any recommendations are typically made. Last season, the GMs recommended 3-on-3 overtime and a coach’s challenge.

Apr. 9 — Last day of the regular season

All 30 teams in action on this Saturday. Playoffs begin four days later on Wednesday. Also, the draft lottery’s date is still to be determined, but should be held sometime around here.

June 18 — Last possible day for the Stanley Cup Final

Click here for PHT’s Cup picks.

June 24-25 — NHL draft

In Buffalo this year. Click here for Central Scouting’s “players to watch” list, led by Auston Matthews.

July 1 — Free agency begins

And then it’s summer.