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Canucks game day: Putting Boston beatdown behind and moving on to Motown

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Photo credit:© Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports
Jeff Paterson
4 months ago
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To their credit, the Vancouver Canucks (34-12-5) haven’t been in a position of having to bounce back from many sub-par performances this season. But that’s exactly what they’ll be looking to do heading into Saturday’s matinee in Motown. Coming off a disappointing 4-0 loss in Boston on Thursday, the Canucks will be looking for a response when they face the Detroit Red Wings (26-18-6) in a 10am Pacific time puck drop at Little Caesars Arena.
The Canucks surrendered a pair of first period short-handed goals to the Bruins and have been torched for the game’s opening goal while on the power play in three straight contests. Overall, the Canucks have allowed five short-handed markers in their last six games. Thursday’s setback put an end to the Canucks 12-game point streak (10-0-2) and was just the second time all season they’ve been held without a goal. While they’ve managed to pick up points consistently, the Canucks have lacked consistency on most nights for the past couple of weeks. 
In two games since the All Star break – and with the injection of newcomer Elias Lindholm —  the Canucks have been held under 20 shots on goal in both contests. They managed 19 shots in a 3-2 win in Carolina on Tuesday and were limited to just 17 shots in Boston. They have a total of 24 shots on goal over their last five periods of hockey. While Lindholm scored a pair of power play goals in his debut on Tuesday in Carolina, neither he nor Elias Pettersson has registered a 5-on-5 shot on goal in two games together. Based on Friday’s practice in Motown, the Canucks appear to be considering new looks to their line combinations for Saturday’s game.
Brock Boeser leads the Canucks with 30 goals on the season, but has scored in just one of the team’s last nine outings. It was a hattrick including his 30th against Columbus on January 27th. In his career, Boeser has scored at least once against every NHL opponent except Detroit. He has 0+6=6 and 11 shots in eight career meetings with the Wings.
Depth scoring has been a huge part of the Canucks overall success this season, however a handful of players have gone quiet in the goal-scoring department: Ilya Mikheyev (19 games), Teddy Blueger (15), Sam Lafferty (8), and even the likes of Dakota Joshua (6), Conor Garland & Nils Höglander (5 apiece) have all come up empty in a handful of recent games. 
With back to back contests this weekend, Casey DeSmith is expected to get the start in goal. DeSmith has been a terrific addition to the Canucks roster this season, yet he has delivered just one victory in four starts since Christmas. He has, however, managed to help the team pick up points in three of those four games (1-1-2). The Canucks will need their back-up to be up to the challenge today while the team in front of him has to do its part, as well.
Saturday’s game marks the return to Detroit for a pair of Canucks: Filip Hronek and Pius Suter. Hronek spent the first five seasons and 305 games of his NHL career with the Wings before last year’s trade to Vancouver while Suter played the past two seasons in Detroit before signing in Vancouver as a free agent last summer.
The Canucks have a number of strong ties to the state of Michigan: Quinn Hughes and Phil Di Giuseppe both played at the University of Michigan, Ian Cole is a native of Ann Arbor while Dakota Joshua hails from the Detroit suburb of Dearborn.
The Red Wings return to action for the first time since the All Star break. They last played in a 3-2 overtime loss to Ottawa on January 31st. Daniel Sprong and Dylan Larkin had the Detroit goals while Alex Lyon made 22 saves in net. Wings coach Derek Lalonde has confirmed Lyon will get the start on Saturday.
The Wings enter the game holding down the second wild card spot in the NHL’s Eastern Conference. They are 3-1-1 in their last five games and an impressive 9-2-2 in their last 13.
Larkin leads the team with 23 goals and 47 points and enters action today on a 12-game point streak. The captain is one of 10 double-digit goal scorers on the hockey club. By comparison, the Canucks have nine players to reach double figures so far this season. While the Canucks are the second highest scoring team in the league (3.71 goals per game), Detroit sits fourth in the NHL (3.48) and, perhaps surprisingly to some, is the highest-scoring team in the Eastern Conference.
The Wings get a boost with the return of Patrick Kane from injury. Kane will suit up for the 1200th game of his legendary NHL career on Saturday. The 35-year-old has 7+9=16 in 19 games this season. He’s not the only Red Wing marking a milestone on Saturday. Veteran winger David Perron is set to skate in his 1100th NHL game.
This is the first of two meetings between these teams this week. The Wings will be the Canucks opponents on Thursday in their first game at home after the conclusion of this five game road trip.

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