The Wings took their .500 road record into Vancouver to clash with the Canucks on Thursday night hoping to get on the right side of that number. Meanwhile, the Canucks were coming off an overtime victory against the Blackhawks and sat three points behind Detroit with a game still in hand. By the end of the affair, Detroit would extend their lead over the rest of the West by posting a 4-3 shootout victory in BC.
The game started out all Red Wings, as they got two breakaway chances in the first five minutes (and three for the period). Unfortunately, the Canucks brought the good Roberto Luongo to play. Still, Good Roberto wasn't able to stop a shot from Danny Cleary stepping into the middle and firing it around a perfect Darren Helm screen job in front. After the first half of the period went and Henrik Zetterberg took a penalty for holding Henrik Sedin's stick, Vancouver was able to regain momentum and tie it up on a Ryan Kesler shot granted by a very good forechecking job from David Booth behind the net.
Detroit dominated play in the second period, outshooting Vancouver 15-3. The BC Crowd was frustrated enough to give their own team a bit of a derisive cheer when the Canucks were able to put their first shot on net at the 12:09 mark. Not long after that, Jiri Hudler broke the tie on a cross-ice pass from Valtteri Filppula that he slapped over Luongo.
Vancouver came out the aggressor in the third period, doing a much better job at slowing down the Detroit rush and breaking their constant transition. Midway through the period, the Vancouver forecheck converged on Drew Miller as he tried to exit his own zone, creating a turnover and the tying goal off the stick of Alex "bite me" Burrows. Less than two minutes later, Miller would make amends for his goof by again regaining the lead for the Wings while cleaning up some garbage out front. Detroit tried to maintain the one-goal advantage, but surrendered a Mason Raymond goal off a deflection with less than five minutes to go in the period.
OT was Red Wings OT; Franzen decided he actually wanted to play, but the Wings were very cautious about the counterattack and never quite got the right combination of people moving in the zone to create the game-winner. Pavel Datsyuk, Jiri Hudler, and Jimmy Howard combined to troll Todd Bertuzzi on his birthday by ensuring he wouldn't get a chance in the shootout with a 2-0 Jenga victory.
Jump for bullets
- Man, I hate Good Luongo. It's so much easier to make fun of him when he's not stopping 40 shots and all of your non-skills-competition 1-on-1 attempts. The guy had a hell of a game. On the other end, Jimmy played well, but he wasn't tested nearly as much. What matters is that Howard continues to hold the league lead in wins and isn't fighting with his backup to win back the support of his own fans.
- Bertuzzi looked more physically engaged and didn't take a dumb penalty in this one. He did beat up on Keith Ballard, but the fight was in response to Ballard doing what was essentially hockey's version of a hip-check chop block. Ballard wasn't low enough to hit the knees, but it's a shitty way to eliminate a guy who's already battling one of your teammates on the boards.
- Despite Bert looking good, he was a -1 on the night, as the Bertuzzi-Datsyuk-Franzen line were generally outplayed by Ryan Kesler's line. I felt that Johan Franzen got a lot of unfair criticism for his play in Calgary, but I'm jumping on their bandwagon after this one. He played like a hemophiliac bull in a china shop.
- Jakub Kindl played 11:06 and did a decent job holding his own with and against the lower line matchups. I hope that gives him back some confidence as he battles for the #6 spot against Mike Commodore. I'm still leaning toward wanting Commie in the lineup more, but the harder this choice is, the better (well, unless they both start sucking, but shut up).
- Do I have to mention the power play?
- Valtteri Filppula has reached his career-high in points scored. He's still on pace to hit mid-60s. He did this by feeding Jiri Hudler his 17th goal of the season, which keeps him on pace for a career year in goals. Henrik Zetterberg was tied in this game for goals scored by Drew Miller and continues to put up big, tough minutes without seeing anything show up on the scoreboard for his hard work. You all wish you could be doing as well as Zetterberg during what is a slump.
- Sorry for the site issues last night. Those responsible have been sacked and their sisters bit by møøses
- CSSI will be up on Saturday for this one.