December 22 2010 11:55AM
Game Day Recon #32 - Canucks @ Red Wings
Remember how the Red Wings are amazing, and have been all year?
If the Vancouver Canucks win tonight in Detroit, they will pass the Red WIngs in the standings to take over second place in the Western Conference. WHAT?!?!
Yep, folks, your Vancouver Canucks are a pretty damn good hockey club. So it's time for them to prove it.
Game Time: 4:30 PM PT
The Vancouver Canucks are not only on a terrific run, but they're doing it while holding off the surging, high-powered Colorado Avalanche. Ever since the Canucks lost that debacle at home against the Blackhawks on November 20th, the Canucks are 9-2-1. Even though some of those wins came against some tough opponents, and including some very convincing wins, this is probably their toughest test of the season. The Canucks have become a yardstick team, a team against which other teams measure themselves. Well tonight the Canucks play their yardstick team.
The Red Wings are pretty evenly split in terms of stats. The Canucks are slightly better defensively, while the Red Wings are slightly better offensively. But the biggest advantage that the Canucks have is their special teams.
What else is there to say about the Red Wings? They are the league's gold standard. So for the Canucks to prove they are an elite team, the Canucks need to beat the best, in order to BE the best.
Oh and can Ryan Kesler have yet another massive game? The Detroit-area native always has great games against the Red Wings. Can he continue his recent run of stellar play and burn his hometown club? Boy, we sure hope so!
The Three Keys
Here are the three keys for the Vancouver Canucks tonight:
1. Discipline. The Red Wings are a very disciplined team, and draw a LOT of penalties at home. While the Canucks have vastly improved their discipline over last year, this will be their biggest test. The best thing they can do is keep skating.
2. Hold on for dear life in the second period. If the Canucks lapse in the middle frame, this game could get away from them. The Red Wings are damn good in the 2nd, and the Canucks are NOT.
3. Score first. The Red Wings are a scary 15-1-3 when they score first. But the Canucks are even more ridonkulous when they score first at 16-1-2. And 7 of the Canucks 8 regulation losses have come when they allow the first goal. Given the Canucks typically strong defense in the first period, they need to hold down the fort early in their own end.
Here are your top 5 links for today's game:
1. Tale of the Tape: Canucks @ Red Wings (canucks.com)
2. Head to Head: Canucks vs. Red Wings (Fox Sports on MSN)
3. Joe Louis ain't no ordinary arena — Vancouver players have many ties (The Province)
4. Canucks should test Red Wings (Detroit Free Press)
5. Vancouver at Detroit (Y! Sports)