Having kicked off their season long seven-game road trip on Friday with a dominating performance over the Columbus Blue Jackets, the Canucks look to extend their dominance over used-to-be-Western-but-now-in-the-East teams with a trip to the Joe Louis Arena on Sunday morning. Can the Canucks continue their road excellence against a team they so boastfully tried, but failed, to mimic for so many years?
Let’s see how they stack up against the current #DetroitModel on the other side of the jump.
Puck Drop: 11:00 AM PST (!!!)
TV: TVA, CityTV
Radio: TSN 1040AM
Nothing new to see here. Tomorrow’s lineup is the exact same as the one they iced in Columbus. As for the starting goalie, it’s completely unconfirmed on DailyFaceoff, but I think the safe bet is to expect Ryan Miller between the pipes. As an aside, Linden Vey has been downright useless at 5v5 this season and I would surely love to see Nicklas Jensen in his spot.
How’s that for some forward depth? Nothing says excellent drafting quite like having Tomas Jurco on the fourth line. Maybe there’s something to this #DetroitModel business after all? Appears as though Jimmy Howard will get the call in net, as per DailyFaceoff.
Historically, the Canucks haven’t matched up all that well against Detroit. I believe the Canucks have won roughly 40% of all meetings in the storied history between these two clubs. Now of course, that doesn’t necessarily mean much as far as tomorrows game is concerned.
This season, the Detroit Red Wings have taken significant steps towards recapturing their puck possession dominance of the last decade. They’re the eighth best possession team in the league, with a 52.11% Corsi on the year. A rejuvenated forward corps, that includes great youth pieces in Riley Sheahan, Tomas Jurco, Gustav Nyquist and Tomas Tatar, have gone a long way in this regard.
It’s also worth noting that going into Sunday’s contest, the Red Wings are every bit as hot as the Canucks right now. Some might even suggest, they’re Hansel hot. Detroit’s won six of their last seven, and have done so with a +11 goal differential. Their offence is rolling right now.
An often underrated forward, Stephen Weiss, has led the charge in recent games offensively for Detroit. The former Florida Panthers centre and Canucks trade target has five points in his first four-games back from injury and is looking much like the Weiss of old. He’ll be centring a scary looking third-line, with Johan Franzen and Darren Helm on his flanks.
The special teams battle will be an interesting one to keep an eye on heading into tomorrows contest. Detroit is in the top-ten for both power play and penalty kill percentage. While the Canucks keep pace in penalty killing prowess, they’ve been mired in a terrible slump on their power play.
If not for the Canucks struggles on the power play and the early success they enjoyed with Vey on their first-unit as the hovering man in a 1-3-1 formation, I can’t imagine a use for him in the lineup. I’ve long been conducting the #JensenTrain on this platform and allow me to throw more coal in the engine.
The Canucks need to decide how much of their early power play success was dependent on Vey’s hovering ability in the high slot, and whether it’s worth it to use him in that capacity, while watching him get obliterated at evens. Jensen’s production with the club has done little to impress, but he generated considerably more offensively and provides much more size and strength down low in a bottom-six role. He’s been called up, so I don’t know, maybe insert him in the lineup?
Much of the Canucks’ success against the Red Wings will be dependent upon their ability to keep up in the transition game. Mike Babcock has proven to be a master of neutral zone play and his unorthodox tactics also make for some of the best defensive zone breakout plays in the league. Solving Howard will also prove a difficult task. You wouldn’t know it listening to broadcast commentators and the like, but Howard has proven to be one of the league’s best puck-stoppers at even strength for quite some time now.