Wings open six-game road trip in Vancouver Saturday
The Detroit Red Wings have enjoyed the luxury of playing more home games than any team in the league.
By the time February ends, though, they may need a map to find their way to Joe Louis Arena.
The Red Wings open a six-game road trip Saturday night seeking to continue their success against the Vancouver Canucks (9:30 p.m. pregame, 10 p.m. tip-off on FOX Sports Detroit).
Playing an NHL-high 23 home games through the 2014 portion of its schedule has been very profitable for Detroit, which has gone 13-4-6 in those contests. The Red Wings played 10 of their 14 December games at Joe Louis and went 4-2-4, closing with a 3-1 win over New Jersey on New Year’s Eve.
Saturday’s contest starts a stretch with Detroit playing 17 of its 23 games on the road through the end of next month. The Red Wings, 5-3-0 in their last eight away from home, also face Edmonton and Calgary on the Canadian segment of this trip before visiting Washington, Buffalo and St. Louis.
"Sometimes that’s good for a team, to get away and just be together," center Luke Glendening said. "You’ve got to play good road hockey to win games."
Darren Helm keyed Wednesday’s victory with two goals, and Detroit (20-9-9) limited the Devils to 13 shots to win for the third time in four tries following a six-game skid.
Nyquist set up both of Helm’s goals to give him six points in his last four games.
"He works hard. He scores. He makes plays," Helm told the team’s official website of Nyquist. "He’s a good – I was going to say second line scorer – but he’s a first top guy scorer."
Nyquist scored and Pavel Datsyuk tallied twice in the Red Wings’ 5-3 victory over Vancouver on Nov. 30, their third straight win in the series. Detroit has at least a point in each of the last eight meetings (6-0-2).
Jimmy Howard, scheduled to start Saturday, has been at the forefront of that success, posting a 2.02 goals-against average while recording a decision in each of the eight games.
Howard will face a Canucks team that opened a five-game homestand Thursday with a lackluster effort in a 3-2 loss to Los Angeles. Vancouver (21-12-3) led late into the third period before the Kings scored on their 39th and 40th shots in a 53-second span to send the home team to a defeat it probably deserved.
"Losing’s disappointing, but we didn’t play the way we wanted to. That’s more disappointing," said Canucks coach Willie Desjardins, whose team was outshot 40-16 and has been outshot 103-51 over the last three games.
The Canucks have still managed a 1-1-1 mark in that span thanks largely to Ryan Miller and his .942 save percentage.
"There’s going to be stretches like that," Miller said. "We’ll clean it up. We’ll get better. It’s not always neat, tidy and clean during the season. You’re going to have disappointments."
Miller, whose younger brother Drew plays for Detroit, is 0-5-2 with a 3.27 GAA in his last seven games against the Red Wings since beating them with Buffalo on Oct. 13, 2009.