Tonight is the second of four games between these two teams this season. They opened the season against each other, with the Canucks winning 3-1 in Detroit.
Since beating the Wings, Vancouver has been “on” and “off,” posting a 7-9-1 record with wins mostly coming in pairs between loses until recently. Since beating the Caps on October 27th, the Canucks have lost five games, winning only once (2-1 over the Stars). The lowest point of their recent slide was their 6-0 loss to the Ducks, the hockey media’s current darling (due to Scottchris Niederprongermeyer). Jes Golbez has a colorful post on the game here.
They’ve been outscored 21 to 10 in their last six, despite having Roberto “Stops 57 of 60 Shots” Luongo in net, and Markus Naslund and the Sedin Twins up front. The defense is young and inexperienced, and Mathias Ohlund, Willie Mitchell, and Sami Salo don’t make up for it, apparently.
The Wings have won eight in a row, the most recent win coming over the Predators on Friday. Tonight is the start of a three-game road trip that will take the Wings to Calgary and Edmonton this Friday and Saturday.
Due to a sudden rash of injuries, the roster will look a little different tonight, as reported by Megan yesterday. To recap:
Jason Williams is still in Detroit and is supposed to join the team between today and Friday. His roster spot will be taken by either Tomas Kopecky or Josh Langfeld, depending on how you look at it.
Tomas Holmstrom will sit out tonight’s game with a groin injury and his spot will be taken by the other above rookie.
Andreas Lilja will replace Niklas Kronwall (groin) in the lineup.
Joey MacDonald will back up Dominik Hasek in the absence of Chris Osgood (hand).
With the Canucks struggling like they are, the Wings should have little trouble as long as they play like they have been recently. Of course, it’s a Western Canada trip, and the Wings historically don’t do so hot on them. Maybe this time will be different.