The Detroit Red Wings own the most points in the NHL due to their staggering success at home.
The Vancouver Canucks aren’t far behind thanks to the league’s best road record.
The Red Wings will try to extend their NHL-record home winning streak to 24 games while the Canucks attempt to gain a share of the lead in the race for the Presidents’ Trophy on Thursday night.
The Red Wings (41-18-2) have a league-leading 84 points, two more than the Canucks (38-16-6) heading into the conclusion of their season series.
Detroit has taken two of three from Vancouver so far, including a 2-0 victory at home Oct. 13.
The Red Wings have been nothing short of a juggernaut as host, winning a league-record 23 in a row and going 26-2-1 overall.
Not only do the Canucks pose the biggest threat to that streak yet, leading the league with a 20-10-2 road record, but they’re very happy to get that opportunity.
“They’re on quite a bit of a roll,” goaltender Roberto Luongo said. “I think that’s what makes this game so exciting for our team. We’ve been hoping they would still be undefeated by the time we got there.
“Talking to the guys, even two to three weeks ago, I was hoping that they would hold on until we got there at least, so we can get a chance. That’s what’s fun about playing the game; challenges like that. I think as a group, we’re excited about it and we’re going to step up to the plate.”
Vancouver might be catching the Red Wings at an opportune time, as they’re missing Pavel Datsyuk—their leader with 43 assists and 59 points. The All-Star left wing had arthroscopic surgery Tuesday to remove fragments from his right knee and is expected to be sidelined for two weeks.
Detroit didn’t fare well without Datsyuk on Tuesday, falling 2-1 at Chicago.
“Pav’s been out before and he’s a huge part of our team but we’re going to need guys to step up,” said Jimmy Howard, who had 27 saves against the Blackhawks in his return from a broken finger. “This is an opportunity for other guys now to play in a role maybe they’re not used to playing in, maybe getting some more ice time, and they’re going to find a way to get it done for us.”
Valtteri Filppula may be one of those players. The center’s 17 goals are third on the team and two shy of his career high set in 2007-08, but his goal Tuesday was just his second in 18 games.
Johan Franzen, the team leader with 23 goals, has 12 goals and 10 assists during the home winning streak. However, the right wing has just one goal and one assist in 10 home meetings with the Canucks.
Like Detroit, Vancouver is looking to rebound from a defeat, falling 3-1 at Nashville on Tuesday.
Henrik Sedin leads the Canucks with 64 points, while his twin brother Daniel Sedin is second with 61 and first on the club with 26 goals. Both were kept off the score sheet by the Predators after getting six points each in the previous two games.
The Sedins are looking to regain that scoring edge by continuing their success against the Red Wings.
Henrik Sedin has 18 points in his last 12 games against them, while Daniel Sedin has 14 goals and 24 assists in 41 career matchups.