Final

Series (Game 1 of 4)

Detroit leads 3-1

Game 1: Tuesday, October 27th
Red Wings5Final
Canucks4
Game 2: Thursday, November 12th
Canucks1Final
Red Wings3
Game 3: Wednesday, March 3rd
Canucks6Final
Red Wings3
Game 4: Saturday, March 20th
Red Wings4Final
OT
Canucks3

Red Wings 5

(4-4-2, 10 pts)

Canucks 4

(6-6-0, 12 pts)

10:00 PM ET, October 27, 2009

Rogers Arena, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

1 2 3 T
DET 1 0 45
VAN 2 0 24

P. Datsyuk (Red Wings - C): Goals: 2, Assists: 1

H. Sedin (Canucks - C): Goals: 2, Assists: 1

T. Holmstrom (Red Wings - LW): Goals: 1, Assists: 1

Red Wings-Canucks Preview

STATS LLC

After winning division titles last season, the Vancouver Canucks and Detroit Red Wings got off to slow starts and struggling defenses were partly to blame.

Only one of those teams has seemed to solve those woes and that's the injury-plagued Canucks, who seek a fourth straight win Tuesday night while trying to hand the visiting Red Wings a fourth consecutive defeat.

Vancouver (6-5-0), which rallied to win the Northwest Division in 2008-09, was outscored 13-6 in dropping three straight to open this season and allowed 3.7 goals per game during a 2-4-0 start.

Roberto Luongo started each game in that stretch but since being pulled during a 5-3 loss at Calgary on Oct. 16, he's allowed six goals as the Canucks have won four of five.

He posted his first shutout this season and a record 21st with Vancouver in Sunday night's 2-0 win over Edmonton, the team's fifth straight at home and third in a row overall. The Canucks will match their longest winning streak from all of last season with a victory Tuesday.

Luongo's improved play couldn't have come at a much better time as the Canucks are missing six regulars, including last season's leading goal scorer, Daniel Sedin (broken foot).

Kyle Wellwood is out with a broken big toe suffered in Saturday's 3-1 victory over Toronto, the start of a three-game homestand. Defenseman Sami Salo is expected to miss two more weeks because of a sprained knee. Pavol Demitra is still recovering from shoulder surgery, and Jannik Hansen has a broken hand.

Mathieu Schneider, however, returned from shoulder surgery in Sunday's win, and Rick Rypien is close to coming back from a groin injury.

"Sometimes you need to be challenged a little bit to step up as a team and I think we've done that," Luongo said. "It seems like we're losing a player every game right now, but guys are coming in, doing a great job and buying into the system and that's why we're winning games."

With the exception of losing Johan Franzen for four months to a torn left ACL, Detroit (3-4-2) has been relatively healthy, but veteran goaltender Chris Osgood is struggling once again.

The Red Wings overcame his career-worst 3.09 goals-against average during the 2008-09 regular season to win the Central Division, and he registered a 2.01 GAA during their run to the Stanley Cup finals. He has a 3.16 GAA in seven games this season, and the Red Wings are near the bottom of the NHL in allowing 3.3 goals per game.

The team's offense, which scored an NHL-best 295 goals last season, has been quiet during a 0-3-1 road losing streak, getting outscored 17-8. Among those defeats was Saturday night's 3-1 loss to Colorado, the Red Wings' season-high third straight overall.

Kris Draper scored the game's first goal 3:09 into the second period, but the Avalanche got all their goals over the final 25 minutes -- two against Detroit backup Jimmy Howard and an empty-netter.

"It doesn't matter how you win," coach Mike Babcock told the team's official Web site. "You just gotta win. If you are not playing like you did in the past or if you have to do things a lot harder, so what? As a team, just do it for one another, dig in and find a way to win."

Osgood will likely start Tuesday and is 3-0-1 with a 2.48 GAA in Vancouver since returning to Detroit in 2005-06.

Luongo is 5-4-1 with a 2.29 GAA versus the Red Wings since coming to the Canucks in 2006-07.

The teams split their four games last season with each team winning once at home and on the road.

SPONSORED HEADLINES