Final - 2OT
  for this game

Canucks host Red Wings in matchup of Western Conference elite

Jan 8, 2011 - 3:56 PM (Sports Network) - Few teams have gotten the best of the Canucks over the last month, but the Red Wings are one of them.

Vancouver, riding a club-record 15-game point streak, sets its sights on a ninth victory in a row this evening as it plays host to Detroit in a battle at Rogers Arena between the top two clubs in the NHL.

The Canucks have won eight in a row for the first time since a 10-game run from Nov. 9-30, 2002 and are 13-0-2 since their last regulation loss on Dec. 5. That has helped the Northwest Division leaders to an NHL-best 59 points on the season, two more than Central-leading Detroit.

However, one of the Canucks' two overtime losses over their recent tear came in Detroit on Dec. 22. That defeat came after Vancouver opened the season series between the two powerhouses with a 6-4 home victory back on Nov. 6.

Overall, the Red Wings have won five the past seven meetings as well as three of the last five in Vancouver.

Both clubs were in action last night, with Vancouver scoring a 6-1 home victory over Edmonton. Ryan Kesler notched his second career hat trick, Daniel Sedin ended with two goals and an assist and twin brother Henrik set up three goals.

"We played well from the puck drop on," said Kesler. "Helping the team win, and for me personally, I'm pretty happy with the game. We're on a roll and we have to keep it going."

The Canucks, whose current 17-1-2 stretch is also a club record for a 20-game span, got 23 saves from backup Cory Schneider, who is 8-0-2 on the season. That means Roberto Luongo is likely to get the start tonight and he is 8-10-3 with a tie and 2.82 goals-against average in his career versus Detroit.

Vancouver has won six in a row at home and is 7-0-1 in its last eight as the host. It wraps a three-game homestand tonight.

Kesler and Daniel Sedin will try to extend their recent hot runs before leaving town. Kesler has 13 goals and 22 points over his last 15 games, including five three-point efforts, while Sedin has eight goals and seven assists in his last nine games. The twin has 11 goals and 34 points in 36 games versus the Red Wings.

Detroit comes to town having won the first two contests of a five-game swing, including last night's 5-4 shootout victory in Calgary that stretched the club's road winning streak to five straight.

Brian Rafalski scored his first two goals of the season, including the game- winner late in the third period, Darren Helm had a goal and an assist and Todd Bertuzzi scored the lone goal of the shootout.

"We kept ourselves in it and we gave ourselves a chance," Rafalski said. "If we want to get two points on the road that's what we're going to have to do."

Jimmy Howard stopped all three Calgary shootout chances and posted 35 saves to give the Red Wings their second straight win and a 5-1-1 mark in their last seven games.

Though Patrick Eaves returned from a three-game absence due to an elbow injury and scored, Valtteri Filppula sat out with a nagging groin injury and blueliner Brad Stuart suffered a broken jaw in the third period.

Henrik Zetterberg, who scored twice and had the game-winner in overtime the last time Detroit faced Vancouver, extended his point streak to nine games with an assist. He has five goals and eight helpers over the run as well as 10 goals and 12 assists in 28 games versus the Canucks.

It is unknown if Howard or backup Chris Osgood will start tonight. Howard has been in net for the first two meetings, moving to 4-3-0 with a 3.67 GAA in his career versus Vancouver, but Osgood is a solid 17-4-2 with four ties and a 2.65 GAA in his career when facing the Canucks.

In fact, Osgood is 4-0-2 in his last eight against them and hasn't lost in regulation to the Canucks since Feb. 28, 2004 while with the Blues.