Tale of the Tape: Canucks vs. Red Wings (4.20.13)
Tonight’s game is presented by the new Sportsnet.ca
– Fuelled by Canucks fans
|Team Record: 24-13-7
Last Game: 1-5 L at Dallas (APR.18.13)
Season Series: 0-2-0
Last Meeting: 2-5 L (MAR.16.13)
|Team Record: 20-16-7
Last Game: 2-3 L at Calgary (APR.17.13)
Season Series: 2-0-0
Last Meeting: 5-2 W (MAR.16.13)
The Vancouver Canucks (24-13-7) will open their final home stand of the regular season tonight when they play host to the Detroit Red Wings (20-16-7) in a nationally televised game on Hockey Night in Canada.What You Need to Know
- The Vancouver Canucks (24-13-7) will open their final home stand of the regular season tonight when they play host to the Detroit Red Wings (20-16-7) in a nationally televised game on Hockey Night in Canada.
- The Canucks are coming off a 2-2-1 road trip that saw them finish winless in the final two games of the trip including dropping a 5-1 decision to the Stars on Thursday in the finale.
- The Canucks begin their final home stand of the regular season tonight – a three-game set that, in addition to the Red Wings, will also see the top two teams in the Western Conference in the Blackhawks and Ducks, respectively, pay visits. The Canucks bring a six-game home ice win streak into tonight's contest dating back to March 19.
- The Red Wings, who are currently battling for their playoff lives and sit two points out of eighth place in the West coming into action today, close out their four-game road trip tonight. They are 1-1-1 through the first three games of the trip.
- Overall, Detroit has just one win in their last five outings (1-2-2) and three wins in their last 10 games (3-5-2).
- The Canucks can clinch a playoff spot tonight with a win of any type.
- Despite losing on Thursday, the Canucks actually got one step closer to clinching the Northwest Division title thanks to the Wild loss to the Sharks that same night. Vancouver enters tonight's game needing a combination of 2.5 wins and/or Wild losses to clinch the division. Vancouver sits four points up on Minnesota with both teams having played 44 games. The Wild are idle until Sunday when they host the Flames.
- Tonight marks the third and final regular season meeting between the Canucks and Red Wings. Vancouver is still looking to get on the board in the season series having lost both previous meetings by a combined 13-5 score, including dropping a 5-2 decision back on March 16 on "Millionaires night" at Rogers Arena.
- Vancouver is looking to avoid going winless in a season series against Detroit for the first time since 2000.01. That year, the Canucks finished their season series against the Red Wings with three losses and one tie. They have not been swept outright in a season series by the Red Wings since the last lockout shortened season in 1994.95 when they lost all four head-to-head meetings to Detroit.
- Should Canucks G Cory Schneider get the start tonight against the Red Wings, it would mark his first appearance in the season series. G Roberto Luongo has started, and lost, both previous games in the season series to date. Schneider has made only two career appearances against the Red Wings and is still in search of his first career win against Detroit. The Red Wings are expected to counter with G Jimmy Howard, who is 2-0-0 in the season series with a 2.50 GAA and .911 save percentage.
Tonight's game faces off at 7 pm PT and can be seen on CBC's Hockey Night in Canada. The game can also be seen on the NHL Network for fans in the United States. Listen live on The TEAM 1040 Sports Radio or online at teamradio.ca.
Those away from a TV or radio can follow @CanucksGame on Twitter for live in-game play-by-play.
Keys to the Game
The Canucks Win If...
- They bounce back from Thursday's stinker. There's absolutely no excuse for the Canucks tonight not to put their best foot forward after their embarrassing outing against the Stars two nights ago. They'll especially want to get off to a quick start and, ideally, build a sizeable lead early after blowing one-goal leads in back-to-back games. Vancouver has also blown one-goal leads to lose in both meetings against Detroit this season as well.
- They don't fall apart in the third period. Third periods, in general, haven't been great for the Canucks all season long but in the last couple of games it's really stood out for all the wrong reasons as they've been out-scored by a combined 5-0. Their third periods against the Red Wings this season have also been atrocious. Detroit has out-scored Vancouver 6-1 in third periods this season.
- They're motivated to deal a crippling blow to the Red Wings post-season aspirations. There haven't been many occasions in recent memories where the Red Wings have found themselves scratching and clawing just for a playoff position so what better way is there for the Canucks to earn payback for their two lopsided losses to Detroit than by being a contributing factor to them possibly missing the playoffs for the first time in over two decades?
The Red Wings Win If...
- They continue their dominating ways against the Canucks. For whatever reason, the Red Wings just seem to have the Canucks' number this season owning a couple of lopsided wins over them. They might be in the Canucks' head right now because of their two convincing wins and that mental edge might be enough to get them a third win in the season series.
- They play like there's no tomorrow. The Red Wings come into play today on the outside of the top eight in the Conference so they are essentially in playoff mode now. Their play on the ice needs to reflect the desperate nature of their situation or else they may find themselves hitting the links earlier than normal.
- Zetterberg and Datsyuk stay red hot. This particular note has been a recurring theme in every meeting between the Canucks and Red Wings this season but it bears repeating. If Detroit's dynamic duo of Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk continue to light up the Canucks as they have so far in the season series, it's hard to imagine the Red Wings don't come away with a win. The pair has combined for three goals and 10 points in just two games so far in the season series.
Ones to Watch
Whenever the Canucks find themselves in a slump, one of the players they count on leading them back onto the winning path is Henrik Sedin. The Canucks will especially want their team captain to step up and lead the way in the third period tonight given their recent struggles in the final frame.
Henrik, who is better known for dishing the puck around rather than depositing them in the net, sits tied for second in team goals this season with 11 – just two behind team-leader Alex Burrows – and he's done most of his work in third periods tallying seven of those 11 goals in final frames. However, he comes into tonight's game goal-less in six straight outings and hasn't scored a third period goal against a netminder since netting a penalty shot marker back on March 14 against Nashville.
Henrik will be looking to guide his team back into the win column tonight against the Red Wings and the best way for him to do so would be to add to the two assists he has so far in the season series. He has eight goals and 42 points in 46 career games versus Detroit.
Dan Cleary's point production isn't quite at the same level as the Red Wings are used to seeing from him this season but you wouldn't know that from watching him in the season series against the Canucks.
Cleary, like many of his teammates, has made putting up points against the Canucks look easy this season. He has two goals and three points so far in the season series while scoring in each of the two head-to-head meetings so far. He'll try to make it goals in three straight games against the Canucks tonight in the regular series finale.
The 34-year-old Newfie brings a two-game point streak into tonight's contest and will be looking to extend his streak to three straight games which would mark a new season-high for him. He has not recorded a point streak longer than two games since a four-game streak from January 25 to February 4, 2012.
Game Notes on Canucks.com are written by Daniel Fung. Follow him on Twitter @daniel_fung or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.