Canucks vs. Red Wings Preview

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DETROIT, MI (AP) - The Vancouver Canucks and Detroit Red Wings are each contending for another division title, but the teams are heading in opposite directions.

The Canucks will try to post a fifth straight win in their first trip to Joe Louis Arena this season, while the Red Wings will attempt to avoid their seventh defeat in 10 games Wednesday night.

According to NHL odds and oddsmakers from online sports book have made the Red Wings -135 money line favorites for Wednesday's game against the Canucks. Current NHL Public Betting Information shows that 50% of more than 213 bets for this game have been placed on the Red Wings -135.

Vancouver enters this matchup 9-1-1 since its season-worst, four-game slide last month. The Canucks (19-8-4) have earned at least one point in six straight games, and Roberto Luongo's play in net has been key during their current win streak.

Luongo stopped 15 shots in a 3-1 win in St. Louis on Monday night and has a 1.24 goals-against average over those four consecutive wins. He's won nine of his last 10 starts while posting a 1.69 GAA.

The victory in the opener of a three-game trip was also Vancouver's fourth in a row away from home.

The Canucks are 8-2-1 on the road since starting 0-3-1 there. They haven't won five straight road games since Feb. 6-22, 2007.

Detroit-area native Ryan Kesler might help them pull off that feat. He has six goals and three assists in his last six games, and two goals and five assists in his last five against the Red Wings (20-8-4).

"I think we're playing with confidence, but at the same time, we're not satisfied," Kesler said. "It's business as usual around here. We've got to keep going. ... You look at the standings and there's not a lot of space (in the Western Conference), so we've got to keep winning and staying on this W-train."

Detroit, meanwhile, has seemed to exit that "W-train" after a strong start.

A 4-0 win over Anaheim on Dec. 3 helped the Red Wings improve to 17-4-2, but they're 3-4-2 since that victory. Detroit is also on the verge of its second three-game slide after formerly being one of three NHL teams not to endure such a skid this season.

The Red Wings are also 2-3-1 at Joe Louis this month after starting 10-1-2 there, and fell 4-3 in overtime to Dallas at home on Sunday.

Detroit took an early 2-0 lead but allowed the tying goal with 3:14 remaining in regulation, then another with 42 seconds left the extra period.

The Red Wings have given up 15 goals in their last four games after yielding 49 in their first 19. They've given up 15 in their last three matchups with Vancouver.

"I liked the way we played last game, but we didn't finish like we wanted to," coach Mike Babcock said. "We just got to take another step in this game and prepare to battle."

The late collapse denied goaltender Chris Osgood his 400th victory, but he's expected to sit in place of Jimmy Howard on Wednesday. Howard had a career-worst performance during a 6-4 loss in Vancouver on Nov. 6, and is 3-3-0 with a 3.65 GAA in six meetings.

That win was part of a season-best, six-game run for the Canucks.

Luongo is 2-0-1 in his last three matchups against the Red Wings despite a 3.57 GAA.

Vancouver, which has won the past two Northwest Division titles and four of six, is seeking its third win in seven trips to Detroit, winners of eight of the last nine Central Division crowns.

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