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Matchup: Detroit Red Wings vs. Vancouver Canucks
Venue: Rogers Arena; Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Time: 10:30 PM EST
Television: Detroit- FSD; Vancouver- TSN
The Detroit Red Wings (6-4-2, 14 points, 5th place Atlantic Division) have put themselves in a bad situation when they begin a four game road trip tonight against the Vancouver Canucks (9-4-1, 19 points, 3rd place Pacific Division). After winning four straight games, the Red Wings have now dropped their past four games going 0-2-2 in that span. They are lucky to have gotten two points out of the four games as the goaltending is what earned the points for them. During this current four game stretch, the Red Wings offense has been non existent by getting outscored 15-5 in that span.
The Red Wings were able to jump out to the 1-0 lead late in the first period against the New York Rangers and carry it almost all the way through the second period. After the Rangers tied up the game with three minutes left in the second, the Red Wings were able to get a powerplay goal from Daniel Alfredsson with 11 seconds left in the period to take the 2-1 lead. The lead did not hold up for long though as the Rangers tied the game 2 minutes into the third period. That would be all for the scoring as the game would head to overtime. As it looked like the game was about to head to a shootout, the Rangers were able to get the puck behind the Red Wings putting Derick Brassard on a break away who was then able to sneak the puck five hole through Howard to give the Rangers the win with 12 seconds remaining in the overtime period. The Red Wings out shot the Rangers 16-13 in the first period but were then out shot 24-18 in the final two periods.
The Canucks come into tonight’s game on a four game win streak. Included in the four game win streak is three in a row on the road which was part of a 5-1-1 seven game road trip. During their current four game win streak, the Canucks have won three of the past four in overtime or a shootout while scoring 14 goals. The Canucks latest game, a 3-2 win over the Capitals, was the beginning of a three game stretch against Eastern Conference opponents before they hit the road again for a four game stretch.
The Red Wings will be without Johan Franzen tonight as he deals with a minor injury. He is expected to be back for Friday’s game against Calgary. Patrick Eaves will be making his season debut tonight when he replaces Jordin Tootoo in the lineup. The Red Wings are also expected to get Darren Helm back this weekend.
Starting in goal for the Red Wings will be Jimmy Howard. Howard has been in net and taken the loss in the past four game losing streak. Howard is now 3-4-1 with a 2.62 GAA and .915 save percentage on the season. It is not the strong start Howard and the Red Wings had hoped for, but Howard remains the number one starter and his numbers should come back up over time this season.
The Canucks are expected to start Roberto Luongo in net tonight. Luongo is sitting at 7-3-0 with a 2.50 GAA and a .908 save percentage on the season and has earned a victory in his past three starts. Luongo has been considered an elite goaltender in the past few seasons and always presents the Canucks with an opportunity to win.
This game presents a tough task for the Red Wings to right the ship that is sinking fast, but if they want to show that they are an elite team, this is a game they have to win. It could be tough getting the offense going against a goaltender such as Luongo, but the Red Wings have an offense that could break out at any point.