Game 15: Canucks vs. Red Wings (10.30.13)
The Canucks haven't exactly been dominating their opponents from buzzer-to-buzzer throughout their current four-game win streak but it's hard to argue with their results. That being said, they did have one of their stronger efforts on Monday night against the Capitals out-shooting Ovechkin's crew 41-19 and out-chancing them by a wide margin as well. They'll want to have a similar effort tonight against a talented-but-struggling Red Wings team that comes into the game winless in their last four outings.
The Red Wings, who haven't played since Saturday when they dropped a 3-2 overtime decision to the Rangers on home ice, begin a four-game Western Canada road swing tonight and are in search of their first victory since October 17. Last season the Red Wings won two of the three head-to-head meetings against the Canucks with Vancouver's lone win coming via shootout. This game will be the first and only chance this season for fans in Vancouver to see ex-Senator Daniel Alfredsson in a Red Wings jersey. Roberto Luongo is expected to get the start for Vancouver while Jimmy Howard will likely be between the pipes for Detroit.
Puck drop at 7:30 pm PT - Live on TSN, The TEAM 1040, or online at teamradio.ca.
Keys to the Game
Luongo makes a statement. Tonight will be just one of two meetings between the Canucks and Red Wings this season but, more importantly, one of only two opportunities for Luongo to play in front of Team Canada bench boss Mike Babcock before the Olympics. There's no better way for him to show he deserves the top goaltender job in Sochi than to shut down Babcock's Wings.
Beware the breakup. Detroit has been putting their big guns together on one line with Datsyuk and Zetterberg teaming up on the top unit - that is until recently when the Red Wings' struggles forced Babcock to split up his dynamic duo. They might not be together anymore but that just means the Canucks will have to be mindful of a two strong Detroit units instead of just one very potent line.
Win the first 20 minutes. The Red Wings might be struggling for results but one thing they've been really consistent at doing is taking the lead and keeping it. They're 5-1-1 in games where they open the scoring and 4-1-1 in games where they lead after the first period. Detroit has also scored nearly half their goals in first periods this season (12-of-27).
By the Numbers
Win pct. for the Canucks this season when appearing on TSN (1-1-0).
Jimmy Howard's GAA in three games against the Canucks last season. He finished with a .914 save percentage.
Game goal streak for Ryan Kesler coming into tonight's game, one off his career-high.
Straight games the Red Wings have earned a point in against the Canucks in head-to-head meetings (4-0-2).
Game point streak for Henrik Sedin coming into tonight's game (3-8-11), one off his career-high.
Goals scored by the Red Wings in three games against the Canucks last season. Vancouver managed just six.