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Wings try to stay perfect against Canucks

by John Kreiser /

CANUCKS (1-1-1) at RED WINGS (2-0-0)

TV: SNET-Vancouver; FS-Detroit (HD)

Season series:
The Canucks conclude a tough stretch of three games in four nights on the road with the first of their four meetings against the Red Wings. The teams split four games last season, though one of Detroit's wins came in overtime and the other in a shootout.

Big Story: The Canucks come off a 5-4 loss at Philadelphia on Wednesday, a game in which they fell behind early, pulled even at 4-4 but allowed the Flyers to score a minute later. In contrast, the well-rested Wings, who beat Ottawa and Colorado on back-to-back nights, have been off since last Saturday.

Team Scope:

Canucks: In its first three games, Vancouver has shown glimmers of the team that led the overall standings, but the Canucks have yet to put together a complete 60-minute performance. They paid the price for sloppy play and bad penalties against the Flyers, negating a lot of good work in the final two periods.

"We want to be playing our best game right now, we're not happy with the way things are going," defenseman Kevin Bieksa said after Wednesday's loss. "We are good enough to play a full 60 minutes. We are not doing that. When we do play, you see what happens out there."

Red Wings: After not playing since Saturday's 3-0 win at Colorado, the Wings will be delighted to see the Canucks come to Joe Louis Arena.

"It'll be great," Wings coach Mike Babcock told the Detroit Free Press after Wednesday's practice. "Players are tired of practicing, and I'm tired of watching them practice. I want to watch them play. It should be fun. We've had a good week and that, but you want to get playing. Vancouver is a good team, should be good."

Who's Hot:
Canucks forward Daniel Sedin, the defending NHL scoring champion, has five points in his first three games, one more than twin brother Henrik. … Jakub Kindl, who's gotten a chance on the blue line due to injuries, leads the Wings with a plus-5 rating through two games.

Injury Report: Ryan Kesler (hip) and Mason Raymond (back) remain on the long-term injured list, though Kesler is skating and may be able to play when the Canucks return home next week. Defenseman Aaron Rome (hand) is also out. … The Wings are without defenseman Mike Commodore (knee), who's skating and hopes to be back next week, and forward Jan Mursak (ankle).

Stat Pack: The Canucks have gotten points in each of their last six meetings with the Wings, winning three times in regulation and losing twice in OT and once in a shootout.

Puck Drop: For the Canucks to improve, they've got to get off to better starts. Vancouver has given up the first goal in all three games so far -- and taken at least three penalties in the first period of each game thus far.

"We are our own worst enemy, if we aren't making mistakes or putting ourselves down we feel confident that we can beat anybody," Bieksa said. "Five-on-five we are strong, with the man advantage we are strong, it's just mistakes right now."

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