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New-look Canucks look to start strong vs. Red Wings

Oct 5, 2006 - 1:48 PM Vancouver (42-32-8) at Detroit (58-16-8) 7:00 pm EDT

DETROIT (Ticker) - The Vancouver Canucks suffered through a very disappointing 2005-2006 campaign and look to start the long road back to the playoffs when they face the Detroit Red Wings on Thursday in the season opener for both clubs.

The Canucks finished ninth in the Western Conference, three points behind eventual conference champion the Edmonton Oilers.

Predictably, there were major changes in Vancouver in the offseason. The biggest was the five-player trade that sent troubled right wing Todd Bertuzzi to the Florida Panthers for goaltender Roberto Luongo.

Luongo is 1-4-1 lifetime against Detroit with a 2.75 goals-against average and a .931 save percentage.

Vancouver also dismissed coach Marc Crawford and replaced him with Alain Vigneault.

One mainstay for the Canucks is left wing Marcus Naslund, who has led the team in scoring for seven straight seasons. The swift Naslund scored 32 goals and added 47 assists in 81 games last season.

Detroit won the Presidents' Trophy with 124 points last season, but was stunned by Edmonton in a first-round upset.

The Red Wings, who have won five straight Central Division titles, also have a different look for 2006-07. Long-time captain Steve Yzerman retired and Brendan Shanahan signed as a free agent with the New York Rangers in the offseason.

Detroit also signed free agent goaltender Dominik Hasek, who returns for a third stint with the Red Wings. Hasek, who went 28-10-4 with a 2.09 GAA and a .925 save percentage with Ottawa last season, led Detroit to its last Stanley Cup in 2002.

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