Vancouver (2-1-0) at Detroit (2-0-0)

Mostly Cloudy Currently: Detroit, MI
Temp: 43° F
  • Game info: 7:30 pm EDT Thu Oct 16, 2003
  • TV: SNP, FSD
Preview | Box Score | Recap

Just two games into the season it’s apparent the Detroit Red Wings may have the NHL’s best power play for the second consecutive season.

Beginning a stretch of four games in seven days, Detroit looks to remain perfect when the Vancouver Canucks visit Joe Louis Arena.

After opening the season at home with a 3-2 victory over Los Angeles, the Red Wings beat the Ottawa Senators by that same score on Saturday in their first road game.

Tomas Holmstrom and captain Steve Yzerman scored power-play goals, and Nicklas Lidstrom connected with the man advantage 2:52 into overtime on Saturday.

The Red Wings, who had a league-leading 23.8 percent success rate on the power play last season, have scored five of their six goals with the man advantage.

Although Detroit still has arguably the most talented team in the league, Sergei Fedorov and Igor Larionov, two power-play specialists, left the club over the summer.

“I think it’s a matter of taking the shots at the right time, having guys in front and really getting the puck to the net, maybe not make that extra pass, instead take the shot and then get the puck to the net,” Lidstrom said.

Lidstrom shared the point on the power play last season with Fedorov, but now works either with Mathieu Schneider or newcomer Ray Whitney.

“Schneider has got a great shot, good one-timer, and Whitney is really good with the puck, making plays out there, jumping up at the right time or just being out on the point,” Lidstrom said. “It’s been working out well.”

Goaltender Dominik Hasek has looked sharp in his first two games following a one-year retirement, stopping 42 of 46 shots for a .913 save percentage.

“Defensively my teammates are doing a very good job in front of me,” Hasek said. “We haven’t given them too much. There haven’t been too many outnumbered situations. I have been able to see most of the shots.”

The Canucks opened their season by outscoring Edmonton and Calgary 7-1 in a pair of home wins, but lost their first road game, 3-2 to Columbus on Monday.

Defenseman Mattias Ohlund had a goal and an assist for Vancouver, the NHL’s best road team last season at 23-10-7-1.

It should be interesting to see which goalie Canucks coach Marc Crawford starts Thursday.

Dan Cloutier has played well in two games this season, but backup Johan Hedberg recorded a 3-0 shutout against Edmonton in his only appearance of the season.

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