The Vancouver Canucks and Detroit Red Wings are heading in opposite directions entering their first meeting as non-conference opponents since 1980-81.
The Canucks go for a fifth consecutive win while the Red Wings will try to avoid a fifth straight loss in the opener to Detroit's four-game road trip Wednesday night.
The last time Vancouver and Detroit weren't part of the same conference was the days of the Campbell and Wales conferences, with the Canucks in the former and the Red Wings the latter. The Red Wings started 6-2-0 after their move to the Eastern Conference, but those good times haven't lasted as they've gone 0-2-2 since.
Detroit failed to hold a one-goal lead entering the third period against the New York Rangers on Saturday and gave up a goal with 12.9 seconds left in overtime for a 3-2 defeat.
"It's frustrating," goaltender Jimmy Howard said. "Once again, we didn't really play 60 minutes and it cost us. Something has to be done about it. We just have to find a way to go out there and compete for each other. It's just believing in each other and not trying to do too much out there."
The Canucks have gone 6-1-1 in their last eight and shown some grit during their season-high winning streak. Vancouver (9-4-1) has earned two of those victories in overtime and one in a shootout.
The Canucks scored two third-period goals in a 3-2 victory over Washington on Monday. Ryan Kesler tallied his fifth goal in four games 2:53 into the final period and Daniel Sedin scored for the third time in four contests 2:08 later in the club's return from a season-high seven-game trip.
'Resiliency. You go down early in the third and we find a way to battle back and get the go-ahead (goal)," Kesler said. 'That's the way our team's been all year."
The Red Wings' longest skid last season was five games Feb. 13-21, and they'll try to avoid matching that during the start to their trek through Canada.
Detroit has been outscored 14-5 during its losing streak, giving up 40 shots Saturday.
"There's no consistency in our play. It doesn't look like we're wearing the other team out," coach Mike Babcock said. "Having a four-game road trip is perfect for us, but we've got to get way better defensively, way better in our own zone, and way better at taking care of the puck."
The Red Wings are 3-0-2 in their last five against the Canucks but fell 2-1 in a shootout at Vancouver in the latest meeting April 20. Howard started all five games.
Roberto Luongo has given up a combined 13 goals in his last two contests against Detroit.
Daniel Cleary has five goals and five assists in his last 10 games against the Canucks, and Henrik Zetterberg had three goals and two assists in the three matchups last season.
Daniel Sedin has four goals and an assist in his past four games against Detroit.
The Associated Press News Service
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