Tussle At the Top
The Red Wings will attempt to rise above .500 on the road and be the first to win a road game in their season series with Vancouver tonight. The teams have split the season series with both teams winning at home, Detroit 2-0 and Vancouver 4-2. Both teams are playing well, Detroit has won eight of nine and Vancouver was 7-2-2 in January. The Red Wings hold a 3 point lead over the Canucks for the top seed in the West.
A win can put Detroit five points ahead of #2 Vancouver in the West and #4 Nashville for the Central lead. The Red Wings have also won three of their last five games at Rogers Arena.
Todd Bertuzzi is the only Red Wing with multiple points against Vancouver this year (1 G, 1 A) and would love to get his 300th goal against him former squad on his 37th birthday. Jannik Hansen is the top Canuck point-getter in the season series with 2 assists.
The Canucks don't have any injuries but Detroit has a few banged up forwards. Patrick Eaves is still out with complications from a fractured jaw and Danny Cleary is questionable with an undisclosed injury. Tomas Holmstrom is expected to return from a bad reaction to knee treatments. If both return, Jan Mursak could end up scratched given Cory Emmerton's improved play.
Another storyline for this game could be between Nik Kronwall and Ryan Kesler who took offense to a massive "Kronwalling" in team's most recent matchup in December. Both are intense, physical players and things between the two could get chippy if Kesler isn't over the hit.
Jimmy Howard is in net for the Detroit but Vigneault hasn't named his starter yet. An interesting note, Howard is on pace for 49 wins which would break Martin Brodeur's NHL regular season record of 48.