Detroit Redwings (3-4-1-1, 5-4 O-U) vs. Vancouver Canucks (6-5 SU, 5-6 O-U), 10:00 p.m. EST, Tuesday, October 27, 2009, GM Place, Vancouver, BC TV: Sports Net West
By Mike of Predictem.com
Money line: Detroit -110 / Vancouver -110
Over/Under: 5.5 -110
The Detroit Redwings limp in to Vancouver with a terrible record to start the season. They have yet to record a road victory and only have 1 point to show for 4 tries on the road this season. Tonight they head into the home of the Vancouver Canucks who also started the season slow but have reeled off 3 straight wins after a decisive win vs the Chicago Blackhawks last week.
The Red Wings, last years Stanley Cup finalists, might be feeling more than just a hangover of going deep into the playoffs for a second straight year. Detroit lost some of their bench strength due to free agency, most notably Mikael Samuelsson. To make things worse the wings are without gifted 2nd line scorer Johan Franzen for another 3 months. The Canucks are also having some injury problems missing 5 forwards who would find a regular spot in the rotation if they were healthy. A testament to the depth of this team and coaching though is that they have been able to win lately while missing the likes of top forwards Daniel Sedin, Pavol Demitra and puck moving defenseman Sami Salo.
Perhaps the reason for the difference between these two teams right now is Goaltending. Vancouver sports all-world goaltender Roberto Luongo who seems to be rounding into form. In his last 5 starts Luongo’s save percentage has soared to .954. His GAA a minuscule 1.20. On the other end Chris Osgood and Jimmy Howard are not exactly lighting the house on fire as both tenders save % is below .900 and their GAA are both over 3. It’s hard to win in this league when you are consistently giving up 3 goals a game to the opposition!
Recent trends show that this has been an even series with Vancouver winning 3 of the last 5 and 5 of the last 10. Four of the ten games have gone into overtime; Vancouver has prevailed in 3 of those OT games. These games have been tightly contested as well. Of the 6 that did not go to OT, only 2 games have been decided by 2 goals or more. The Over under for the series is 3-4-3 so nothing significant to report in this area. Two trends outside of the head to head stats worth noting are VAN are 21-5 in their last 26 home games & the favorite is on a 7-2 run.
Vancouver has allowed only 1 power play goal in their last 5 games and their penalty killing % is 95.6%. Hockey analysts will always tell you the best penalty killer is your goalie and given Luongo’s recent play we can see why the PK is being so dominate. The Redwings PP is still lethal at 23% so far this season this will be the key match up in the game.
Mikes Pick: Due to the recent play of Luongo and Vancouvers home ice advantage I would lay the ML 110 on Vancouver. Vancouver knows they cant get into a shoot out with Detroit so look for a tight checking game with some good skating and physical play.