A quirk in the schedule enables the Detroit Red Wings to spend four days in warm and sunny Southern California.

It also requires them to play the hottest team in the NHL -- a club that's been near-perfect at home -- in back-to-back games, Friday and Sunday at the Honda Center.

The Anaheim Ducks have gained points in 12 consecutive games (9-0-3) and 18 of their past 19 (15-1-3). They are just three points behind the Blackhawks in the overall standings, even after Chicago's record-setting 21-0-3 start.

It's a difficult start to an important four-game road trip, which continues with stops in Phoenix Monday and San Jose Thursday.

“They're playing good; I really like how fast they're playing,'' Babcock said. “You really got to give (general manager) Bob Murray a ton of credit because through free agency and through the guys here they've done a real good job. Gabby (coach Bruce Boudreau) has obviously done a real good job. They got good depth.''

The Ducks will be even deeper and stronger Friday, when former league MVP Corey Perry returns from his four-game suspension for elbowing Minnesota's Jason Zucker in the head on March 12. It will be Perry's first game since signing an eight-year, $69 million extension.