The Red Wings and Canucks will meet for the first time this season Sunday evening at 5 pm Eastern Time at Joe Louis Arena. Coming off a very strong victory against the Nashville Predators, Detroit will hope to avoid the fatigue that usually comes with back-to-back games as they face a Vancouver team that is, as always near the top of the standings. Look to the usual workhorse players in Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg to be the catalysts for both offense and defense, although Tomas Tatar has shown he is more than ready to be relied upon as a top six forward as well.
Vancouver is also coming off a victory against Nashville, albeit a less convincing one than Detroit’s. They remain at the top of the (weak) Northwest Division, and have the normal suspects in the Sedin twins and Ryan Kesler, as well as two of the league’s premier defensemen in Alexander Edler and Dan Hamhuis, to carry a team that, to put it simply, wins. Their goaltending tandem of Roberto Luongo and Cory Schneider is possibly the best in the league. Detroit will have to pull a Lidstrom-esque miracle out of their hats to come away with a win in this tilt.
Projected Lineup: Detroit
Valtteri Filppula – Henrik Zetterberg – Damien Brunner
Justin Abdelkader – Pavel Datsyuk – Daniel Cleary
Tomas Tatar – Joakim Andersson – Patrick Eaves
Drew Miller – Cory Emmerton – Jordin Tootoo
Niklas Kronwall – Brian Lashoff
Jonathan Ericsson – Ian White
Kent Huskins – Jakub Kindl
Projected Lineup – Vancouver
Daniel Sedin – Henrik Sedin – Alexander Burrows
Chris Higgins – Ryan Kesler – Zack Kassian
David Booth – Jordan Schroeder – Mayson Raymond
Aaron Volpatti – Maxim Lapierre – Dale Weise
Kevin Bieksa – Dan Hamhuis
Alexander Edler – Christopher Tanev
Keith Ballard – Jason Garrison
Expect Jonas Gustavsson to get the start in the second of back-to-back games. He performed admirably when he relieved Howard in the first Nashville game, and this could be his chance to prove that he has what it takes to challenge Howard for the starting job, or at the very least give him some rest occasionally.
Prediction: A tired, but bolstered Wings squad will manage to take the Canucks to a shootout and beat them thanks to the heroics of Datsyuk and Brunner in the breakaway challenge. 4-3 Detroit. Tomas Tatar is the player of the game with two goals and an assist.