Which team is going to show up tonight?
Let's hope it's the team that dominates at home because tonight just very well may be the Wings biggest test of the season. The Vancouver Canucks come to town tonight and they're looking to make a statement. It's the Wings, though, that have the chance to make an even bigger statement.
If I'm Vancouver, I'm motivated like hell. Two points behind the Wings for first overall in the entire NHL and a game in hand as well. You get a wounded Red Wings team that is missing their best player and co-MVP in Pavel Datsyuk. Add in the motivation to break the Wings home win streak and the Canucks have every reason to come out and tell the world, "Hey remember us, we dominated the West last season and we're about to do it again."
If I'm the Wings, I know the Canucks are going to want to come in as streak-busters. I know I'm missing my best player. They're going to be coming at me at full force. So what should the Wings do? They should punch the Canucks right in the face. Tonight's game isn't about the home win streak. It's about Western Conference dominance. It's about looking the other top team in the West in the eye, staring them down, and proving to them that it doesn't matter if the Wings missing the best player in the world. They're still better.
There is still a good portion of the season left, but I'll say it right now, if the Red Wings win this game, they will finish first in the West. Every game game matters and there is two big points on the line, but sometimes it's about a little more and tonight is one of those nights.
Nucks Misconduct is your SBNation Canucks' blog.
Puck drop is just after 7:30p ET on Fox Sports Detroit and NHL Network of us out-of-town folks.
The Expected Lineup
Johan Franzen -- Henrik Zetterberg -- Todd Bertuzzi
Danny Cleary -- Valtteri Filppula -- Jiri Hudler
Justin Abdelkader -- Darren Helm -- Drew Miller
Jan Mursak -- Cory Emmerton -- Tomas Holmstrom
Nicklas Lidstrom -- Ian White
Niklas Kronwall -- Brad Stuart
Jonathan Ericsson -- Kyle Quincey
Jimmy Howard (starting)
Scratches: Jakub Kindl and Mike Commodore
Injuries: Patrick Eaves (concussion) and Pavel Datsyuk (knee)
|CANUCKS||HOW THEY MATCH UP||RED WINGS|
|38-16-6 (82 pts; 2nd in NHL)||Record||41-18-2 (84 pts; 1st in NHL)|
|3.15 (3rd)||Goals Per Game||3.02 (5th)|
|2.35 (6th)||Goals Against Per Game||2.30 (5th)|
|22.1% (1st)||Power Play %||17.7% (14th)|
|86.2% (6th)||Penalty Kill %||81.6% (18th)|
|Daniel Sedin (26 goals)||Goal Leader||Johan Franzen (23 goals)|
|Henrik Sedin (64 points)||Points Leader||Pavel Datsyuk (59 points)|
- The Red Wings are 82-54-18-4 all-time against the Vancouver Canucks franchise.
- Kyle Quincey will re-debut with the Red Wings tonight. He has five goals and 18 assists this season in 54 games. A solid 23 points that should improve with better talent around him. He was a minus-1 with the Avalanche, which isn't that bad considering the Dive suck.
- Roberto Luongo is a 10-10-6 with a 2.64 GAA and .924 SV% all-time against the Red Wings. Jimmy Howard is 7-5-0 all-time against Vancouver with a 2.92 GAA, .905 SV% and one shutout.
- It's a battle of the league's best home record (Detroit 26-2-1) and the league's best road record (Vancouver 20-10-2).
- Key to winning tonight (and any game against the Canucks): Stop the Sedins. According the AP, Henrik Sedin has 18 points in his last 12 games against the Wings and Daniel Sedin has 38 points in 41 career games vs Detroit.
- Who needs to step up tonight: Val Filppula. The kid has only two goals in his last 18 games. He has 15 goals and 28 assists in the Wings wins this season. He has two goals and an assist in the Wings losses. 43 points vs. 3 points. That's a HUGE difference. With Datsyuk out, Flip needs to step up his game.
PLAYER STATISTICS DURING 23-GAME HOME WIN STREAK
Prediction: Will the Wings make a statement tonight? Hell yes. Detroit wins 4-1 and Johan Franzen is your player of the game.
Let's Go Red Wings.