Red Wings Take On Vancouver
The Vancouver Canucks finally snapped out of their scoring slump, but their power-play unit hasn’t come through in quite some time.
They’re hoping Roberto Luongo can do a better job of keeping the visiting Detroit Red Wings from scoring Saturday night as he gets an opportunity to redeem himself from a rough performance last month.
Vancouver (13-7-6) has won two straight after a 0-2-2 stretch and set a season best for goals scored in a 7-4 win over Nashville on Thursday. It had scored eight non-shootout goals over its previous five games combined.
Andrew Ebbett and Jannik Hansen each had a goal and two assists while linemate Mason Raymond added a goal and an assist for the Canucks, who got 29 saves from Luongo.
Henrik Sedin also scored on a penalty shot, giving him seven goals in his last 13 games after going scoreless in his first 13.
“That line (of Ebbett, Hansen and Raymond) was really, really strong,” coach Alain Vigneault said. “They were strong on the puck. Jannik can chase that puck and not get looked off like any of the top guys in the league.”
Hansen registered his first career three-point game and has four goals and five assists over his last seven.
“It just happens to be going in the right direction right now,” Hansen said. “For some reason, we found a way to score a couple more than we normally do.”
The Canucks hope their power-play unit can add a goal or two as well. They’ve gone 0 for 24 over the last 10 games with the man advantage, and Vigneault said they’ll need to improve that aspect of their game moving forward.
“Our power play sometimes is like how we play. We play really well but sometimes don’t get the results we’re expecting to get,” Vigneault said. “It has gotten some good looks, (but) at the end of the day, we’ve got to get it done.”
Not much went right for Vancouver in its first meeting with Detroit. Luongo gave up each goal during an 8-3 loss Feb. 24, including five unanswered over the final 24:50.
Damien Brunner had two goals and two assists, Joakim Andersson scored twice while Niklas Kronwall and Henrik Zetterberg each added a goal and two assists for the Red Wings (13-10-5).
Despite that performance and Luongo’s 3.28 GAA in his last 10 starts versus Detroit, Vigneault is confident going with Luongo again.
“He’s been good,” Vigneault said of Luongo, who has a 2.22 GAA this season. “I just feel right now it’s the right call to make.”
He’ll face a Red Wings team that ended a three-game losing streak with Friday’s 3-2 overtime win at Edmonton, where Valtteri Filppula and Niklas Kronwall scored in regulation before Pavel Datsyuk’s OT goal.
It marked Datsyuk’s first goal since Feb. 19 for Detroit, which is just 4-6-2 on the road.
“We’re having a tough time on the road,” Datsyuk told the team’s official website. “But now I hope we’re unstoppable like a red machine.”
Jimmy Howard made 30 saves Friday, meaning backup Jonas Gustavsson could get the start versus the Canucks in the second of a back-to-back set.
Gustavsson has lost each of his two career starts versus Vancouver while posting a 4.06 GAA.
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