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Detroit — The Red Wings feel they can build off and gain momentum from Thursday's electrifying, 4-3 comeback win in overtime against Pittsburgh.

Which is good, considering where they're going next.

The Red Wings play Saturday in Philadelphia, where, as coach Mike Babcock said, they haven't won a game "since Christ was a kid."

Well, maybe not long. But it feels like it.

The Red Wings haven't won a regular-season game in Philadelphia since Jan. 25, 1997. They also won two Stanley Cup Finals games in Philadelphia that spring, helping the Red Wings to the Stanley Cup.

But back to the regular season. They've lost all nine games in Philadelphia since that victory in 1997, getting outscored 33-13 in the process, and are 13-38-11 lifetime in Philadelphia.

It's not a place where the Red Wings have a lot of success.

"They've been way better than us in there," Babcock said of the Flyers' dominance at Wells Fargo Center. "We have to play a good game, have to play way better this time.

"The game is on the ice. We have to get out there and have a good start. We had a heck of a win (Thursday), found a way to get a win, and we want to build off that."

That was a popular and possible notation in the Red Wings' locker room — building momentum off the incredible and improbable rally against the Penguins and stringing together some victories.

"You can build momentum and try to steamroll into more wins," goaltender Jimmy Howard said. "But it doesn't mean anything unless we go and take care of business (in Philadelphia)."

If ever the Red Wings are going to get a win, Saturday appears to be as good a chance as possible.

The Flyers are decimated on defense, having lost Andrew MacDonald and Braydon Coburn to lower body injuries. But up front, the Flyers are as deep as any team in the league.

"They have good depth up front, they look like a real good team," Babcock said. "We'll have our hands full."

Gustavsson starts

Babcock will start Jonas Gustavsson in net, Gustavsson's second start this season (he shut out Toronto Oct. 18), giving Howard a night off.

Gustavsson was in net for the Red Wings' lone game, and loss, in Philadelphia last season. But he doesn't dwell on the Red Wings' difficulties in Philadelphia.

"New game, new challenge," Gustavsson said. "Just go out there and try to do my best.

"It's a great building. They have good fans, and it's a good team there, too. It's always fun to play there, a good atmosphere. You get excited (to play there)."

Gustavsson is pleased to get another opportunity to play this early in the season.

"It's always good to get a game in, that's when you learn and gain experience," Gustavsson said. "You try to take advantage of all the practices, too, but playing the games are the most fun and that's what you want to do."

Interestingly, Philadelphia is the one NHL city in which Howard has not started a game.

The quirk surprised Babcock.

"Maybe that's why we haven't won there," Babcock said.

Ice chips

Johan Franzen (thigh) can come off the seven-day injured list Saturday, but he didn't practice Friday and doesn't appear ready to play. Saturday will be his fourth consecutive missed game.

…The lines could be shuffled. Babcock split Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk in some drills, though it's not a lock they'll be apart against the Flyers.

…The Red Wings' troubles on the power play are well-documented (2-for-27) but Babcock isn't thinking about trying Brendan Smith.

"I'm not getting into every detail why I play everyone and why I don't," Babcock said. "That's the beauty of being the coach. You get to decide, and you guys get to speculate."

Preview: Red Wings at Flyers

Time: 7 p.m. Saturday

TV/radio: FSD/97.1

Records: Red Wings 4-1-2, 10 points; Flyers 2-3-2, 6 points.

Outlook: The Red Wings have lost their last eight games in Philadelphia and haven't won a regular-season game there since 1997 … C Claude Giroux and Jakub Voracek lead offensively with nine points each … The Flyers' penalty kill ranks 27th (73.7 percent).

ted.kulfan@detroitnews.com

twitter.com/tkulfan

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