Put Your Clothes On, We're Not Streaking Anymore: Canucks 4 - Red Wings 3

See, Ian, what I do is, I DON'T fall down. That's how I get all those breakaways. You should try that next time.

Whoever said "all good things must come to an end" is a dickhead. Fortunately for the Wings, while one streak ended tonight, another kept chugging along.

Playing a good team like the Canucks is always a challenge, but playing them without Pavel Datsyuk, the best player on either roster, is really hard. Playing them without Datsyuk and with a lack of energy and focus means a deserved loss.

The first period would have been a great one for the Wings had they been on the road. At first they were on their heels, but by the end of the period I wouldn't have been surprised if they were skating on their hands from being bent over so much by the Canucks. The Canucks were very aggressive on the forecheck, creating numerous turnovers by Wing defensemen not named Ericsson and hemming the Wings in their own zone. However, because the hockey Gods love irony, the Wings got on the board when Darren Helm stripped the puck from Kevin Bieksa and fluttered a shot past Roberto Luongo.

The second saw the Wings get back in the game, but a string of penalties (some of them deserved, others not so much) put the NHL's best power play on the ice, and Daniel Sedin tied up the game, setting up a wild third period.

They say that good things happen in 3's, and tonight that meant the third line and Darren Helm. Helm's and Justin Abdelkader combined with some hard work in the Canucks' zone to get the puck back to newly acquired Kyle Quincey, who gave the Wings the lead. Cody Hodgson fluked a goal in off of Niklas Kronwall's skate, but 20 seconds later Helm struck again, getting the puck to the crease where Abdelkader knocked the rebound home. The Wings looked to be home and cooled, on their way to win #24 straight when a horrible icing call gave the Canucks a faceoff deep in the Wings' zone. They capitalized when Sedin's shot went through a ton of players, and we headed to OT.

Both teams traded chances in the extra frame, but neither could score, so we headed to a shootout for just the 4th time during this streak. The hockey Gods, sensing the lack of balance from the first period, ensured that the Wings wouldn't get any goals, including from shootout specialist and just-extended Todd Bertuzzi. Alex Burrows decided it was his time to sink his teeth into history and scored on Howard, ending the Wings' 23-game home winning streak. However, tonight marked the 24th straight game the Wings have earned at least a point at home, and maintained their lead in the Western Conference and NHL.

  • As the game was going on, I thought that the Wings have to win this game 5-on-5. Their special teams are just not up to the level of the Canucks, especially a power play without Datsyuk. You can't have Franzen on the half boards because he's not effective. Get his big body in the slot where he belongs and use Filppula and Zetterberg in the "Datsyuk" role. 0-5 on the power play tonight, including an 0-3 first period in which they got a total of 1 SOG. Putting that in perspective, the Canucks had 4 SOG shorthanded.
  • 2 goals in 3 games for Helm, your PotG, and points on every Wing goal. Is he heating up? Is he finally ready to break the shackles of non-scoring that have plagued him all year? I said after the Sharks game that there isn't a better third line in the NHL right now; tonight was further evidence of that.
  • Jimmy Howard deserved much better than that. 17 saves in the first period while the Wings figured out that not every team was going to roll over for them just because the game was in Detroit, and 40 total saves on the night. With all apologies to Joey MacDonald, if Howard's not in the Wings net tonight, they lose by at least 5.
  • I'm still mad about that icing call.
  • Quite the Wings' debut for Kyle Quincey. Getting in the face of Ryan Kesler after the whistle a few times? Apparently he's like me in that he doesn't give a shit where Kesler is from. The Livonia native didn't seem used to the fact that a player in red would stand up to him, and he remained pretty invisible out there tonight. Quincey looked like there might have been some nerves being in his first game. He took 2 penalties (although the second was a ridiculous dive), scored a goal, and overall he played a decent game. I did like his jumping up in and joining the rush, but there were some giveaways that were troubling. Still, it was his first game, and he was picked up to provide depth, not be the next Nicklas Lidstrom. I'm definitely feeling the Quinsanity.
  • I tweeted this, but there is something deliciously ironic about the streak ending by shootout loss. Perhaps the asterisk needs an asterisk.
  • I was going to rip on Franzen for his terrible play tonight, but I just don't have it in me. Maybe if it was the playoffs I could bring my "A-game" trash talk, but it's the middle of February and I just can't be bothered.
  • Wing and Canuck fans may talk about a common bond with being hated fanbases and all that, but a playoff series would quickly eliminate any nice feelings that may currently exist. I normally don't hold much of an opinion one way or the other about the Canucks outside of a few players, but watching them flop and flail all over the ice tonight only seemed to further the stereotypes that make their rounds among other fans. It certainly seemed like any time a Canuck player was touched, he immediately fell to the ice, and some of them drew calls. However, I'm a pragmatic guy, and it could be that the Canucks are just on a long road trip and all of their good skates are back in Vancouver.
  • On that note, I'll say it: I believe that if these 2 teams meet in the playoffs, the Wings win the series. I've seen both teams dominate the other one at times, but I also know that the Wings were missing their best player and that there was a lot of extra motivation on Vancouver's part to end the streak. I think it would be close and hard-fought and a great series, but I see the Wings emerging victorious. Let's hope it happens.
Well, even though the streak is over, the Wings still own first place in the NHL and Western Conference. Let's face facts; if I had told you the Wings were going to play, in order, Nashville, San Jose, Chicago and Vancouver and had to play 2 of those games without Jimmy Howard and the other 2 without Pavel Datsyuk, I think most of you would have taken 5 out of 8 points from that stretch. I'm also weirdly ok with losing this game, even though the Wings were 15 seconds away from number 24 in a row. They just didn't have it tonight, at least not as much as the Canucks did, and there's no shame in losing to a good team.
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