After spending a day off at the White House, the Detroit Red Wings can re-focus on defending the Stanley Cup championship that earned them that visit.
The Red Wings look for their third straight victory when they host the Vancouver Canucks on Thursday night in the teams' first meeting of the season.
Detroit (2-1-0) was honored by President Bush on Tuesday for winning its fifth Stanley Cup in 12 seasons in 2007-08, and the Wings brought two straight wins into their White House visit as they look to win back-to-back titles for the second time in that span. Detroit's first two championships during this run came in 1997 and '98.
"You guys may be back next year, but not me," Bush said.
Since dropping their season opener at home Oct. 9, the Wings have won consecutive road games, defeating Carolina 3-1 on Monday. Tomas Holmstrom scored the go-ahead goal in the second period, his third goal of the season, and Ty Conklin finished with 27 saves in his Red Wings debut.
Conklin, signed as a free agent in July to give Detroit depth in net, sat the first two games behind Chris Osgood before turning in the solid performance Monday.
"We wanted to get him in early," coach Mike Babcock said. "We didn't want to wait because he's the new guy here to our program."
Nicklas Lidstrom had a first-period goal for Detroit, and Henrik Zetterberg added an empty-net score in the final seconds. The Wings, who led the Western Conference with 257 goals in 2007-08, have just eight this season.
Detroit signed star forward Marian Hossa in the offseason in a bid to further upgrade the offense, but he has yet to record a goal this season. Hossa hasn't been overly productive against Vancouver in his career, with three goals and two assists in 12 games.
One player who has been, however, is Osgood, who's expected to return to the net Thursday. The veteran is 15-4-4 with a 2.40 goals-against average and one shutout versus the Canucks, making 29 saves to win 3-2 on Oct. 28 in his most recent matchup with them.
The Wings will be taking on a Canucks club that failed to win its third straight to open the season Monday, falling 5-1 at Washington. Despite holding Capitals superstar Alex Ovechkin without a point, Vancouver (2-1-0) was dominated throughout, getting outshot 35-10 en route to the lopsided loss.
"It's tough to play when they're on offense the whole time," Vancouver center Henrik Sedin said. "You have to defend, defend, defend."
Alexander Edler scored on the Canucks' first shot on goal - but that power-play tally came 4:02 into the game. Vancouver was outshot 10-2 in the first period and 15-1 in the second, and Canucks coach Alain Vigneault pulled Roberto Luongo before the start of the final period after he allowed five goals on 25 shots.
"I don't have any answers for what happened tonight," said Luongo, who has a 2.39 GAA in 14 games against Detroit and is likely to return to the net Thursday.
Vancouver will be playing the third game on a six-game road trip.
The Red Wings won the 2007-08 season series with the Canucks 3-1-0, taking both games at Joe Louis Arena. All three wins came by a score of 3-2.