VANCOUVER, B.C. - The Detroit Red Wings attempt to claw their way back into a playoff spot in the Western Conference when they visit the Northwest Division-leading Vancouver Canucks on Saturday.
Detroit, which has not missed the postseason since 1989-90, sits in ninth place in the West - two points behind the Columbus Blue Jackets. The Red Wings fell to 1-2-2 in their last five games on Wednesday, when they dropped a 3-2 decision to the Calgary Flames.
Vancouver had a chance to clinch a playoff berth Thursday but suffered a 5-1 loss to the Dallas Stars. The Canucks fell to 1-2-1 over their last four contests and sit just four points ahead of the Minnesota Wild in the Northwest.
After beginning their final homestand against Detroit, the Canucks will host Chicago and Anahem before concluding the regular season against the Oilers in Edmonton.
TV: 10 p.m. ET, NHL Network, CBC, RDS2, FSN (Detroit)
ABOUT THE RED WINGS (20-16-7): Detroit controls its own destiny despite beginning Saturday on the outside of the playoff picture. Should the Red Wings win each of their final five games, they will extend their streak to 22 consecutive postseason appearances. "If we win outright, we'll be OK," injured forward Todd Bertuzzi said. "We have a huge game (Saturday) and we have to take care of that, then we have a homestand for a bit, and then one game in Dallas. It's right there in front of us."
ABOUT THE CANUCKS (24-13-7): Vancouver opened the scoring Thursday but allowed five unanswered goals in the setback. "Very frustrating," goaltender Cory Schneider said. "It's just happening too much lately, and it's all preventable. We're just making casual plays or we're not being hard enough on the puck." The Canucks hope to have Kevin Bieksa back in the lineup as the defenseman has missed the last two games with a groin injury.
1. RW Patrick Eaves was nominated for the Bill Masterton Trophy for his return from post-concussion syndrome.
2. The Red Wings have won five of their last seven visits to Vancouver.
3. Detroit captured the first two meetings of the season by a combined score of 13-5.
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