Canucks-Red Wings Preview
The Vancouver Canucks have been competitive during a daunting
first week of the season. However, that’s not enough to satisfy a
team that is determined to make a return trip to the Stanley Cup
After falling short in their last contest, the Canucks face
another stiff challenge when they continue their four-game trip
Thursday night against the unbeaten Detroit Red Wings.
It’s been anything but easy for the reigning Western Conference
champion Canucks (1-1-1), who have played three straight one-goal
games. Vancouver opened with a 4-3 shootout home loss to Pittsburgh
last Thursday then won 3-2 at Columbus on Monday.
The Canucks fought back from an early two-goal deficit to tie
Philadelphia in the third period Wednesday before falling 5-4 to
one of the top teams in the Eastern Conference.
Despite its subpar start, Vancouver has played like a club that
remains one of the favorites to reach the Cup finals for the second
straight season. However, the Canucks believe they have yet to put
forth a complete effort.
“We want to be playing our best game right now, we’re not happy
with the way things are going,” defenseman Kevin Bieksa said. “We
are good enough to play a full 60 minutes. We are not doing that.
When we do play, you see what happens out there.”
The challenge only gets tougher Thursday against Detroit
(2-0-0), a perennial Cup contender which has scored eight goals in
its first two games. Though the teams split their four meetings in
2010-11, the Canucks earned a point in each contest. The final
three were decided by one goal, with one ending in overtime and
another in a shootout.
Henrik and Daniel Sedin, who combined for six goals and seven
assists versus Detroit last season, each had a goal with an assist
Wednesday. The twins have five points apiece through the first
Roberto Luongo stopped 22 shots against the Flyers. He posted a
2.66 goals-against average in four games versus the Red Wings last
Detroit forward Pavel Datsyuk, who has six goals with nine
assists in his last 15 games against Vancouver, recorded one of
each in a 3-0 win at Colorado on Saturday.
The Red Wings are looking to start 3-0 for the first since
2005-06, Mike Babcock’s first season as coach.
“We think that we have a good team,” center Henrik Zetterberg
told the Red Wings’ official website. “We know that we’ll be there
again in the end, and that’s our goal. We really think that we can
Zetterberg, who scored his first goal Saturday, had two with
three assists against the Canucks in 2010-11.
Ty Conklin made 29 saves against the Avalanche in the first
start of his second stint with the Red Wings, but starter Jimmy
Howard could be back in net after he stopped 29 shots in a 5-3
season-opening win over Ottawa on Friday.
Howard started all four games versus Vancouver last season,
posting a 3.17 GAA.
Conklin, who went 25-11-2 with a 2.51 GAA for Detroit in
2008-09, has allowed three goals in each of his last two starts –
both losses – against the Canucks.