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Detroit Red Wings Vs. Vancouver Canucks: Game Preview

February 24th, 2013 at 4:32 PM
By Frank Vajcner

What: Vancouver Canucks at Detroit Red Wings

When: 5 PM Sunday

Where: Joe Louis Arena, Detroit, Michigan

TV: Fox Sports Detroit, SportsNet Pacific

Records: The Red Wings are 8-7-3, the Canucks are 10-3-4

Coaches: Mike Babcock is 429-223-19-85 in his tenth season as a head coach, and 360-161-70 in his eighth season with the Red Wings. Alain Vigneault is 406-276-35-58 in his11th season in the NHL, including 297-158-54 in his seventh season with the Canucks.

Season Series: The Red Wings went 2-1-1 against the Canucks last season, including a 2-0 shutout at Joe Louis Arena in October 2011.

Canucks Update: The Canucks are coming off of a 1-0 shutout win over the Nashville Predators on Friday. Dale Weise scored the lone goal, and Roberto Luongo recorded his 62nd career shutout. The Sedin twins, Henrik and Daniel, both lead the team in scoring (Daniel: 5 goals, 12 assists. Henrik: 2 goals, 13 assists). The team has recently been sparked by the return of Detroit native David Booth, and Livonia native Ryan Kesler. The Canucks will be without defenseman Kevin Bieksa (groin) and center Manny Malholtra (unspecified health problem).

Red Wings Update: The Red Wings ended a five-game skid by defeating the Nashville Predators 4-0 Saturday night, as they got goals from Drew Miller, Tomas Tatar, Niklas Kronwall, and Danny Cleary. Jimmy Howard stopped all 33 shots for his 12th career shutout. Henrik Zetterberg (22 points–5 goals, 17 assists), Pavel Datsyuk (20 points–8 goals, 12 assists), and Damien Brunner (12 points–8 goals, 4 assists) are the offensive leaders for the Wings. Injuries remain a problem for the Wings, as they will be without Johan Franzen (hip), Mikael Samuelsson (finger), Darren Helm (back), Todd Bertuzzi (back), Kyle Quincey (ankle), Brendan Smith (shoulder), and Carlo Colaiacovo (shoulder).

PLAYER POSITION BREAKDOWN

Centers: Malholtra had been the Canucks' best faceoff man until going on IR. Without him, Kesler and Henrik Sedin have been a very good one-two punch. This should be a fun matchup with Datsyuk and Zetterberg. Maxim Lapierre brings a lot of physicallity to the game, and could be a tough match for Joakim Andersson or Cory Emmerton. Rookie Jordan Schroeder has also been solid for Vancouver

Edge: Even

Wingers: Pick your poison. Daniel Sedin has been Vancouver's best winger so far in terms of scoring. Alex Burrows and Mason Raymond are two of the more underrated wingers in the NHL. Brunner will test them with his speed. Tatar has done well for the Wings since getting called up. Aaron Volpatti and Weise have been known to drop the gloves, so look for Jordin Tootoo to go with either. All in all, the Canucks are probably the deepest on the wing

Edge: Canucks

Defensemen: Even without Bieksa, the Canucks are very deep on the blue line too. If Bieksa can't play, look for Alexander Edler to take his spot next to Dan Hamuis. Jason Garrison, Keith Ballard, and Chris Tanev have all been solid. Kronwall is coming off of a three point game Saturday, so he will have to keep improving. Jonathan Ericsson will be paired with him, as Brian Lashoff and Ian White will make up the second pair.

Edge: Canucks

Goaltenders: Howard (7-6-2, 2.87 GAA, .903 save percentage) was supposed to have today off, but with an injury to backup Jonas Gustavsson, he will start tonight. Either Luongo (5-0-3, 1.45 GAA, .941 save percentage) or Cory Schneider (5-3-1, 2.69 GAA, .912 save percentage) could start. 

Edge: Canucks

Prediction: Both teams shutout the Predators on consecutive nights. Tonight's game will go a long way to determine if the Red Wings are out of their slump, or if Saturday was just a flash in the pan. Any time these teams get together, they have played in some exciting games. We could see another one today, but the rest will help the visitors

Make It: Canucks 3, Red Wings 2 in overtime

Season Prediction Record: 8-9-1

Tags: Detroit, Detroit Red Wings, Hockey, NHL

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