The Vancouver Canucks play their third home game in four nights as they host the Detroit Red Wings.
Slowly, the Canucks injury ward is starting to clear up and their play has improved. The Red Wings, meanwhile, have started a mini-slide, having lost their last three games and dealing with some lingering injury problems.
The Red Wings always offer a solid test to the Canucks but their play of late has been a bit questionable, especially in net. Chris Osgood has looked very average this season, and has passed the torch to Jimmy Howard lately as the main starting goalie. Not only that, but Detroit has struggled defensively have an entire unit. So although the goalies have not played very well, they aren’t getting much help from the main guys in front of them.
The Canucks, on the other hand, appear to be on the upswing, with three straight wins and a return to form of main goalie and captain Roberto Luongo. Rookie Michael Grabner has 5 points in 6 games and has complemented a very quick line with Ryan Kesler and Mason Raymond. Mathieu Schneider will play in just his second game this season, but adds some needed depth on defence and a calming presence to quarterback the powerplay. Defensively, the Canucks have finally settled in and settled down, most noticeably with Christian Ehrhoff whose play has improved great in the past few games.
We also learned today that Rick Rypien is very close to returning to the line-up, and the Sami Salo has been skating well in practice and is likely one week away from returning from injury.
Tonight’s game promises to be fast-paced and exciting with a lot of speed and puck movers on both teams. Canucks fans should be excited to see a much more up-tempo game after the snooze-fest against Edmonton on Sunday.