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Canucks seek fifth straight win against slumping Red Wings

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The Sports Network
12/22/2010 1:02:00 PM
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(Sports Network) - While the month of December has been a good one for the Vancouver Canucks, the Detroit Red Wings are running out of time to build up some momentum before 2011.

The Canucks go for a fifth straight victory both overall and on the road while the Red Wings hope to avoid a fourth loss in five games this evening at Joe Louis Arena.

Vancouver has won seven of its nine games this month and is 9-1-1 in its last 11 following Monday's 3-1 victory in St. Louis that began a three-game road trip. The Canucks are currently tied with the Avalanche for first place in the Northwest Division and will try to post their second-longest winning streak of the season tonight behind only a six-game run from Oct. 22-Nov. 6.

Jeff Tambellini, Aaron Volpatti and Ryan Kesler all scored in Monday's win, with the Canucks improving to 11-0-0 when Kesler has a goal this season. The center has 16 goals this year and six in his last six games.

Roberto Luongo needed to make only 15 saves to beat the Blues.

"If we can be physical and score some timely goals we'll get some wins," said Tambellini.

The Canucks will look to do that tonight against a Red Wings club that is just 3-4-2 in its last nine games since opening the month with a 4-0 victory at Anaheim on Dec. 3.

Detroit did manage to pick up a point on Sunday, losing in overtime, 4-3, to Dallas. Chris Osgood failed in his bid to become just the 10th goaltender in NHL history to reach 400 wins, allowing the game-tying goal with 3:14 left in regulation before getting beat by the Stars' Loui Eriksson at the 4:18 mark of overtime.

"For sure, it's disappointing," said Osgood, who ended with 28 saves. "Politically correct to say it wasn't. But, for sure. There's only three minutes left in the game, I was feeling real good. It's unfortunate, to say the least."

Johan Franzen and Pavel Datsyuk both had a goal and set up another for the Red Wings, who have lost four of their last six at home as well and lead the Predators by four points for the top spot in the Central Division.

Osgood won't get a chance to reach his milestone tonight as Jimmy Howard is expected to get the start in goal. Howard is 3-3-0 with a 3.65 goals-against average, stopping just 28 of the 34 shots he faced in a 6-4 home loss to Detroit on Nov. 6.

That was the first meeting between the clubs this year after the Red Wings took three of four from the Canucks in 2009-10. Vancouver has lost four of its last six in Detroit.

Kesler set up two goals in that win and has six goals and seven assists in 20 career games versus the Red Wings. Luongo is 8-10-2 with a tie and 2.73 GAA against them, making 24 saves in the last meeting.

Daniel Sedin Ryan Kesler (Photo: Abelimages / Getty Images)

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(Photo: Abelimages / Getty Images)
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