Matchup: Detroit Red Wings vs. Vancouver Canucks
Venue: Rogers Arena, Vancouver, British Columbia
Time: 10:00 PM EST
It took three periods plus another 3:40 of the overtime, but the Detroit Red Wings (13-10-5, 31 points, 5th place Western Conference) ended their three game winless streak to begin the second half of the season by defeating the Edmonton Oilers 3-2 in overtime last night. Tonight, they travel to Vancouver to take on the Vancouver Canucks (13-7-6, 32 points, 3rd place Western Conference) in the second game of back to back games and the second of three road games.
The last time the Red Wings and Canucks met, the Red Wings put on an offensive showing by scoring 8 goals and just dominating all facets of the game. In that game, the Red Wings were 3-6 on the powerplay and got goals from 6 different players, with Damien Brunner and Joakim Andersson both scoring two a piece. Roberto Luongo was in net for Vancouver on all eight goals.
The Red Wings come into tonight's game two points ahead of the first team out the playoffs after a much needed win last night in Edmonton. While the Wings looked sluggish for the first two periods of the game. They picked up the urgency in the third period scoring two goals, one with the help of Edmonton scoring on their own net, to tie the game and eventually win it in overtime off of a beautiful shot by Pavel Datsyuk. The Red Wings scored a road powerplay goal for the second straight game, which was the tying goal, after Jeff Petry shot the puck into his own net while trying to clear it from the middle. At this point the Red Wings will take what they can get as the offense has been struggling and it shows as they have struggled to put consistent wins together all season. The Red Wings will aim to get a powerplay goal in three straight road games tonight and there is a possibility that it could happen as Vancouver is middle of the pack in penalty kill at 14th overall with an 81.4% success rate.
Vancouver comes into tonight's matchup winners of two in a row after dropping their previous four. The Canucks have been playing only sub par hockey in their past ten games posting a 4-4-2 record and going 2-2-1 at home in their past five games there. This is not a team to take lightly by any means though as they are still one of the top teams in the NHL. Their offense was on full display in their last game where they beat Nashville 7-4 on Thursday night. They could not put much together in their last meeting with the Red Wings while scoring three goals with close to no defense.
Jimmy Howard will be making the start for the Red Wings for the second straight night after another strong outing last night. Howard will be looking to improve on his stats against the Canucks as he has posted an 8-5-1 record with a .905 and 2.96 GAA in 14 careers starts against Vancouver. He gave up 3 goals while earning the win in the 8-3 victory back on February 24th. The Canucks will counter with Roberto Luongo in net after he has earned victories in the previous two games and Corey Schneider lost three games in a row. Luongo will try to forget the last two times these two teams met and will try to improve his record against the Wings as has has gone 11-11-6 in 28 games against the Red Wings. His record against the Red Wings is no indication of his play though as he has posted a .921 save percentage and 2.83 GAA in his career.
Players To Watch:
- Damien Brunner is still trying to rediscover his scoring touch after failing to score a goal in nine games, though he steal leads the Red Wings in goals with 10. In the last game against Vancouver, Brunner had easily his best game in the NHL scoring 2 goals to go with 2 assists in the 8-3 victory.
- Joakim Andersson also had his best game as a NHL player in the last matchup of the two teams, tallying 2 goals to help guide the team to victory. Andersson has played solid hockey for the entire season and is making a case for himself to stay in the Red Wings lineup permanently this season and for the future.
- Henrik Sedin is putting together another Henrik Sedin type season, leading the Canucks in assists (19) and points (26). In the last meeting with the Red Wings, Sedin had 2 assists on the 3 Vancouver goals. In his career, Henrik Sedin has accumulated 42 points (8 goals, 34 assists) in 45 career games against the Red Wings.
- Daniel Sedin has been another thorn in the side for the Red Wings throughout his career and was so in the last meeting between the two clubs. In the last game, Daniel Sedin scored 2 of Vancouver's 3 goals and leads the Canucks in goals this season with 8. In his career, Daniel Sedin has recorded 42 points (18 goals, 24 assists) in 43 games against the Red Wings.
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