Detroit Red Wings vs. Vancouver Canucks Pick & Prediction FEBRUARY 10th 2024

The Detroit Red Wings return from the All-Star break striking an unusually optimistic tone given their genuine chance to end their seven-year playoff drought.

Eager to get back to work, the Red Wings will play host to the Western Conference-leading Vancouver Canucks on Saturday afternoon.

Detroit currently holds the last wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference after going 9-2-2 in January.

“It’s a fun time of year,” Red Wings defenseman Ben Chiarot said. “That’s what we’ve been striving for since I got here, what this organization has been building for. It’ll be a lot of fun.”

Adding to the Wings’ upbeat attitude is that all their players are available. Chiarot, forward Patrick Kane and goaltender Ville Husso were sidelined heading into the break. Chiarot missed five games, Kane sat out seven and Husso hasn’t played since mid-December.

“Knock on wood, we’re healthy,” Detroit coach Derek Lalonde said. “We’re going to have some tough decisions for scratches. But that’s all part of it. Those are good problems to have. You saw us in December, had trouble fielding a lineup with how many guys we had out. Good timing on being healthy.”

In Husso’s absence, Alex Lyon emerged as the No. 1 goaltender. He has a 13-6-2 record, a 2.51 goals-against average and a .922 save percentage.

Captain Dylan Larkin, who has a team-best 47 points (23 goals, 24 assists), is on pace for his best statistical season. He carries a 12-game point streak (10 goals, six assists) into Saturday’s contest.

“That was one of the things I liked about the team here from the start of the season was just the depth,” Kane said. “Every team that I’ve been on that’s won has a lot of depth. You can really count on different guys throughout your lineup to step up every night. It’s not the same two or three guys. I think that’s what’s exciting about our team here.”

Due to the way the NHL staggered the All-Star break layoffs, the Canucks already have played twice this week. They began a five-game road trip Tuesday with a 3-2 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes, then got blanked by the Boston Bruins 4-0 on Thursday.

The loss snapped the Canucks’ 12-game point streak. The Bruins scored their first two goals in the opening period during Vancouver power plays.

“It’s our first (regulation) loss in a while, so if you’re going to lose, I guess you’re going to throw a dud. That was a dud,” Canucks coach Rick Tocchet said. “I mean, two short-handed goals (allowed), you can’t have that. It’s obviously a learning lesson.”

Vancouver was limited to 17 shots on goal.

“We can’t give them two short-handed goals and then the two goals that we gave them in the second are kind of our own mistakes,” Canucks defenseman Quinn Hughes said. “So, they didn’t do anything necessarily too (well), it was just us shooting (ourselves) in the foot.”

Defenseman Filip Hronek (three goals, 33 assists) will be facing his former team for the first time. Hronek was dealt to the Canucks late last season.

Vancouver will be playing the front end of a back-to-back. It faces the Washington Capitals on the road Sunday afternoon. The Red Wings will play their next four games on the road, including a stop in Vancouver on Thursday.

–Field Level Media

Docsports, The most trusted name in sports handicapping