The Red Wings are tied with the New York Rangers for the NHL lead with 69 points and are also three ahead of Vancouver for the West's No. 1 seed. Both Detroit and the Canucks have been playing excellent hockey of late, as the Wings have won eight of their last nine contests and Vancouver is coming off three straight victories and a 7-2-2 record in January.
Detroit and the Canucks have split the last eight encounters in this series and each team has won a home test so far in this season's matchup. The Red Wings, who are just 14-14-0 as the road team this year, have won three of the last five encounters in B.C.
The Red Wings began a five-game road trip prior to the All-Star break when they were dealt a humbling 7-2 loss by the Montreal Canadiens. Detroit rebounded from that lopsided loss in its first test after the hiatus, as it posted a 3-1 decision Tuesday night in Calgary.
Jiri Hudler scored the winner in the third period to lift the Red Wings to the victory at the Saddledome. Drew Miller and Cory Emmerton also had goals for the Red Wings, while All-Star goaltender Jimmy Howard stopped 28 shots in the win.
"I thought both teams played well defensively," said Detroit head coach Mike Babcock. "They're well organized and it's hard to get through there and get on the inside."
After tonight, Detroit has two tests left on its road trip with stops in Edmonton and Phoenix. The Red Wings will then return to the Motor City for a six-game homestand at Joe Louis Arena, where Detroit has won a franchise- record 17 straight games as the host.
The Red Wings hope to have veteran forward Tomas Holmstrom back tonight after he sat out Tuesday's tilt due to swelling in his knees. The 39-year-old Swede has eight goals and 10 assists in 43 games this season.
Vancouver is coming off a dramatic win over one of Detroit's Central Division rivals on Tuesday, as Daniel Sedin scored 3:37 into overtime to give the Canucks a 3-2 decision.
In the extra session, Henrik Sedin had the puck behind the net and dished it to the front where his brother one-timed it home for the win.
"It was big," said Henrik Sedin. "They are one of six or seven teams that are right there so to get the extra point, that could be the difference in the end."
Tuesday's victory improved Vancouver to a 3-1-1 on a six-game homestand that is set to end tonight. The Canucks are 15-6-3 as the host this season.