The Vancouver Canucks
got what they were hoping for a couple of weeks ago, when they noticed the Detroit Red Wings
had a remarkable home winning streak going.
The Canucks (38-16-6) said they've been rooting for the Red Wings (41-18-2) to extend their streak until Vancouver rolled into town on Thursday night for a matchup of the top two teams in both the Western Conference and League standings (7:30 p.m., NHLN) -- and that's exactly what happened.
Detroit's NHL record home streak stands at 23 straight games and the Canucks are eager to give it their best shot to make sure it doesn't get to 24.
"It's fun," Canucks goalie Roberto Luongo
said after a morning workout at Joe Louis Arena on Thursday. "It's a great challenge for our team. We're excited about it and I think guys want to put out a great effort tonight to try and break the streak."
He's also not concerned that comments made by him or his teammates provided bulletin board material for the Wings.
"I didn't say we were going to beat them," Luongo said. "I said it was a challenge for us to come here and try to beat them. I mean, I think guys are excited about that. I never said we were going to come in here and win. I just said we were excited about the opportunity and that it's a great challenge for our team to try and do something special."
The Red Wings feel likewise about their record mark, which they'd like to extend as long as possible. They'll still be without star center Pavel Datsyuk
(knee), however, so the challenge to keep the streak alive gets even greater against the highly-skilled Canucks -- whose 20-10-2 road record is the best in the League.
"I like playing Vancouver," Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said of the matchup. "It'll be a good test for us."
It will also be the first time defenseman Kyle Quincey
pulls on the Red Wings sweater again, after being traded back to the team that originally drafted him in 2003 from both the Colorado Avalanche
and Tampa Bay Lightning
as part of a three-team deal on Tuesday.
His first game with the Wings this season also happens to be one in which Detroit's trying to keep its impressive streak alive.
"I was thinking about that," said Quincey, who will start out with Jonathan Ericsson
on Detroit's third pairing along with getting some time on the power-play and penalty-kill units. "A lot of people were asking me about [playing] Colorado on Saturday night, but trust me I'm really focused on tonight. I don't want to be the guy who messes that up. But these guys aren't talking about that, they're just trying to get the win. And I know [Vancouver] is pretty close behind us. It'll be a big game, exciting game to watch."
Here is how the Canucks and Red Wings will likely line up on Thursday night:
- Henrik Sedin
- Alexandre Burrows
- Ryan Kesler
- Mason Raymond
- Cody Hodgson
- Jannik Hansen
- Maxim Lapierre
- Dale Weise
- Kevin Bieksa
- Sami Salo
- Christopher Tanev
- Henrik Zetterberg
- Todd Bertuzzi
- Valtteri Filppula
- Jiri Hudler
- Darren Helm
- Justin Abdelkader
- Cory Emmerton
- Tomas Holmstrom
- Ian White
- Brad Stuart
- Kyle Quincey