The win marked the first time in nine games that Detroit had not given up at least three goals. Previously, Detroit's power play was at the top of the league and their 3-for-5 effort Sunday night on the power play will keep them there.
"If you're plus in the special teams you have a real good chance of winning and we were tonight," said [Brian] Rafalski. "The power play has given us an opportunity to be in all the games and you put together a night like tonight where we kill all the penalties and we're in a pretty good situation."
Mikael Samuelsson got Detroit on the board first when he got a slick backhand pass from Henrik Zetterberg. He then one-timed it from the face off dot to earn his second goal of the season and first in eight games. His last goal came on October 18th against the NY Rangers. Jiri Hudler also earned an assist on the goal.
With 6:29 left in the first period, Brian Rafalski ripped a shot from the point. With both Tomas Holmstrom and Marian Hossa screening Roberto Luongo, it came as no surprise that he couldn't see the deflected puck go in. Both Pavel Datsyuk and Nicklas Lidstrom earned assists in the effort.
Nearly halfway into the second period, the Sedin twins worked their magic to get Vancouver on the board. Henrik won the face off to the right of goaltender Chris Osgood. Daniel scooped up the puck behind the net, passed it to Henrik who pushed it past Osgood. The Twins now have seven points in the last six games.
Detroit rebounded with less than two minutes remaining in the period with a Zetterberg goal on a 5-on-3 power play. He was on the goal line, looked like he was going to pass, and then took a backhanded shot sending the puck over Luongo.
But Vancouver kept it interesting with a goal 7:20 into the final frame. Kyle Wellwood got a rebound off the boards, moved the puck from backhand to forehand, and easily popped it into the net. It came just after Derek Meech’s penalty had expired. Meech was in for Brett Lebda, who was a healthy scratch after having a team-high -9 rating.
Osgood was able to stave off the Canucks and earned 25 saves in the contest. Head coach Mike Babcock said it may have been his best effort this season.
Detroit had benefitted from working on the penalty kill before the game in practice as their PK was uncharacteriscally loaw having allowed ten goals in the last six games, good for 23rd in the NHL.
"We saw a few things we had to work on, mostly communication and putting more pressure on," Rafalski said of Saturday's extra penalty kill practice. "We were sitting back on our heels and watching and not being as aggressive as we'd like."
- Marian Hossa's point streak was snapped at nine games.
- Nicklas Lidstrom was only on the ice for one of Detroit's goals. Niklas Kronwall was on the ice for the other two.
- Detroit only had three shots in the third period, which may be a team low this season.
- Considering Detroit played five games in seven nights and then only had a couple days off for it's final game of the road trip versus Vancouver, the Wings were pleased with a 3-1-1 record on the trip.
“You go home 3-1-1 on this trip, it’s a good trip,” Babcock said. “This is the toughest trip I’ve been on since I’ve been with the Red Wings, bar none. The travel, the starting at home, and then we’re back-to-back right out of the gate. This was a good win for us.”
The Wings will take Monday off and return to Joe Louis Arena on Tuesday to prepare for their home game on Saturday, but I'm sure they will enjoy a few days off from games to recuperate from the tiring road trip.