Home sweet home for the Wings

DETROIT – The Wings have to pack their bags for an extended length of time just one more time this regular season.

And that’s a good thing with how well they’ve been playing at home.

After completing their four-game road trip Monday night in Phoenix, the Wings have just one more trip out west – March 13-17 – before the end of the season.

“I miss my family, so it’s going to be really nice to spend some time at home,” said Johan Franzen, as Detroit prepares to play the next six games at home beginning Wednesday night against the Edmonton Oilers. “We’re confident at home, that’s for sure. We like playing in front of our fans. Hopefully we can keep that good trend going and have a good run here.”

The Wings play 18 of their final 28 games on home ice.

“The schedule has been pretty tough,” Niklas Kronwall said. “I’m sure most teams would say the same thing for the last month and a half or so. Obviously, we would have liked to come out with two points (Monday), that way the road trip would have been a lot better. At the same time it’s good to come home and get a little refreshed, try to take advantage of our home ice.”

The Wings have struggled on the road all season, but wrapped up this four-game trip 2-1-1 to improve to 15-15-1 on the road.

“Returning home is something we’re looking forward to and yet we still know we have games every other night, so there’s no time to really relax,” Kronwall said. “We just have to take it easy for night and get back on it when we get home.”

After playing the Oilers Wednesday, the Wings host Anaheim (Friday), Philadelphia (Sunday) and Dallas (Tuesday).

“Now we have to get re-charged, get some home cooking and get playing and get everyone skating again,” Detroit coach Mike Babcock said. “You still have to play, we have to get playing and get playing at a high level.”

The Wings have won a franchise-record 17 straight at home and are just three wins away from tying the 1929-30 Boston Bruins and 1975-76 Philadelphia Flyers for the longest in NHL history.

“Most of the (home) games we’ve been able to come out with a lot more energy and just outwork the other team most of the nights,” Kronwall said. “The nights we haven’t had a good start we’ve somehow been able to find a way.”

“They definitely do play well (at home),” Edmonton forward Ryan Nugent-Hopkins said. “You have to weather the first 10 minutes and play your game after that. We want to go after them. We know they travelled from Phoenix (Tuesday) and that’s not an easy schedule for them. We have to go after them. We can’t play a different game than we played them in Edmonton. We have to realize it’s a 200-by-85 rink no matter where we’re playing.”


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