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NHL Preview: Detroit Red Wings vs. Vancouver Canucks

Line Breakdown

Straight up, Detroit is 20-23 going 10-12 on the road and is 21-16-6 Under. Vancouver is 24-20, straight up, going 13-8 at home and posting 22-17-5 Under.

Injuries

Center, Darren Helm, and right winger, Todd Bertuzzi, continue to be out for Detroit with lingering back injuries. Mikael Samuelsson (RW) will also be out for Detroit with an upper body injury. Vancouver will continue to miss Manny Malhotra (C) who is suffering from an eye injury. They are currently thin at the center position so this injury hurts a lot. Left winger, David Booth will also miss the game for Vancouver with an ankle injury. On the bright side, Kevin Bieksa (D) has been upgraded to a game time decision for Vancouver.

Match-Up

This will be the third and final game between the Detroit Red Wings and Vancouver Canucks this season. Detroit has had the better of the series thus far beating Vancouver in two previous games and looking to sweep one of the better teams in the NHL. In their first match-up, Detroit drubbed Vancouver 8-3 and in the second game, Vancouver didn’t fare much better by losing 5-2. Suffice it to say, Detroit has had Vancouver’s number all season long. However, Vancouver can get a win on their home ice, pleasing their fans, and sending Detroit a very clear message that they are not a team to overlook going into the end of the season and the playoffs.

Detroit needs to close out the season strong by getting this sweep as they are on the outside looking in for the playoff picture. In their last five games, Detroit has lost four of them. Not exactly how you want to wind down on the season. The good news for Red Wings fans is that they still have 6 games left to turn things around and with a little help, they may just make the playoffs. Vancouver seems to have a very solid hold in their playoff destiny as they are currently the third seed in the Western Conference. The Canucks are not without fault as in the last four games, they’ve lost three of them. With just four games left on their schedule, Vancouver needs to end on a high note. With so much riding on the line for each team, this match-up looks to be a great and exciting contest between two NHL powerhouses.

Detroit (20-16-7 in the Central Division) is led in points and goals by center, Pavel Datsyuk, who has 41 points and 13 goals so far on the season. As a team, Detroit is averaging 2.5 goals per game and has a 17.5 power play percentage. Vancouver (24-13-7 in the Northwest Division) is led in points by Henrik Sedin (C) who has 42 on the season and fellow teammate Alex Burrows (C) leads the team with 13 goals. Collectively, Vancouver is averaging 2.6 GPG with a power play percentage of 14.8%.

Sources: ESPN

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