The Vancouver Canucks can open up a 10-point lead on the Detroit Red Wings when the top two Western Conference teams meet at Joe Louis Arena on Wednesday.
A regulation win would do the trick for Vancouver, and with just eight games remaining for both clubs after their meeting, would see the Canucks unlikely to relinquish their Western Conference lead.
It's a marquee matchup, although one that may be dull a tad with a host of roster movement due to injuries.
Detroit appeared to be putting the heat on Vancouver with four consecutive wins mid-month, but has gone on to lose to Nashville and Pittsburgh.
The Wings did salvage a point in the shootout loss to the Penguins on Monday, with a furious rally from a 4-0 deficit late in the second period.
Valtteri Filppula had a goal and an assist, while venerable defenceman Nicklas Lidstrom set up two power-play goals. Lidstrom has scored 36 of his 57 points this season (63 per cent) with the man advantage.
Vancouver saw a win streak end at eight with a 3-1 loss to Phoenix on Friday. Former Canuck Jason LaBarbera stoned Vancouver with a 46-save effort in a game in which all the goals came in the last seven minutes.
Christian Ehrhoff was the lone goal scorer for Vancouver (47-17-9).
The Canucks are beginning a four-game road trip Wednesday. The will take on Atlanta, Columbus and Nashville over the next week.
NHL points leader Daniel Sedin didn't make the original plane with his teammates, but is now expected to play after his wife gave birth to their third child, a girl, on Tuesday.
The Canucks and Red Wings split two games in Vancouver this season, with Detroit taking the previous encounter at Joe Louis.
Vancouver has three players who have scored more than one goal against Detroit this season, but two of them won't play on Wednesday. Manny Malhotra is out for the season with an eye injury, while Mikael Samuelsson is not expected to play due to a lower-body injury. Grinder Tanner Glass is also out.
Players set for return
On the positive side, the Canucks are likely to get another veteran defenceman back in the lineup. Kevin Bieksa is expected to return after missing 15 games with a broken foot.
Forward Victor Oreskovich was also called up from the minors by the Canucks and could play.
Sedin has scored three times against Detroit goalie Jimmy Howard this season, while Ryan Kesler has helped set up six of Vancouver's 11 goals against the Wings.
Henrik Zetterberg has been Detroit's top point getter against the Canucks, with two goals and three assists.
Reports out of Detroit indicate the Red Wings could be without up to four forwards due to various ailments: Pavel Datsyuk, Johan Franzen, Todd Bertuzzi and Jiri Hudler. Forward Jan Mursak was called up Tuesday from the AHL.
The game will pit two of the league's Top 5 power plays, although the Red Wings have tended to convert more efficiently on the road than at Joe Louis Arena.
Detroit will also play a Canadian team in its next contest, hosting the Toronto Maple Leafs on Hockey Night in Canada on Saturday (CBC, CBCSports.ca, 7 p.m. ET).