The Canucks have played just once so far in the New Year but it's safe to say that game will go down as one of the most disappointing, albeit deserving, losses they suffer all year. Despite holding a 2-1 lead heading into the dying minutes of regulation, Vancouver surrendered a pair of goals just 21 seconds apart to fall 3-2 to the Kings in a game where they were badly outshot and outplayed. The loss snapped a streak of four straight games where they Canucks had earned at least a point. Vancouver will look to rebound from that defeat tonight when they continue their five-game home standing hosting the Red Wings, a team that has been one of the beasts of the East all season long and are coming in on a bit of a roll lately.
Detroit is beginning a season-high six-game road trip tonight and are looking to build on a run that seen them win three of their last four games albeit all three of those wins, including their 3-1 victory over the Devils on New Year's Eve, have come against Eastern Conference teams that currently sit outside the playoff picture. This is the Red Wings’ first venture out to the Pacific Time Zone this season and, remarkably, only the second time they will play outside the Eastern Time Zone. Their first was a 4-3 win back on November 20 in Winnipeg. As far as lineup changes for the Canucks go, look for Zack Kassian to make his long-awaited return. Kassian was cleared to return on Thursday but Coach Willie Desjardins opted to keep him out and go with the lineup that had won the game prior in San Jose. Linden Vey is expected to be the odd-man out. Kevin Bieksa sat out practice yesterday but is expected to play tonight. In the unlikely event he can't go, look for Bobby Sanguinetti to make his Canucks debut.
Puck drop at 7 pm PT – Live on CBC, TSN 1040, or online at tsn1040.ca.
Regular Season Record
2014.15 Season Series
Keys to the Game
Win the battle along the boards. The Canucks spent a lot of time in their own zone and were dominated on the shot clock on Thursday in large part because they kept losing puck battles and spent a lot of time chasing the puck. They were burned by the Kings as a result and will be burned again tonight by a very talented Red Wings team if they can’t find a way to win those battles.
Zack makes good. Zack Kassian vowed on Thursday when he learned he would not get a chance to make his return that night that when he did come back he would make it impossible for the team to sit him out again. He gets his first chance to live up to his word tonight and you can bet he'll be energized and looking to make an impact after having to sit out for over a month.
Make it special. Detroit's specialty teams have been dominant all season long with both their PP and the PK sitting near the top of the league. Although they won't want to put their PK to work too often, the Red Wings, one of the league's least penalized teams, will want to take advantage of a Canucks team that can't stay out of the box or draw penalties lately.
By the Numbers
Combined shot differential by the Canucks vs. their opponents in the last three games (51 for, 103 against).
Win percentage for the Canucks this season without Zack Kassian in the lineup (9-8-2).
Total time spent on the power play by the Canucks in their last three games combined.
Straight losses for the Canucks to the Red Wings in head-to-head meetings dating back to October 30, 2013.
Points for Linden Vey (2-1-3) against the Red Wings, leading all players in that game. Vey is expected to be a healthy scratch tonight.
Straight games without a regulation loss by the Red Wings against the Canucks dating back to February 2, 2012 (6-0-2).