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Defense falters, Howard pulled in 6-3 loss

Not much was pretty for the hometown team on Wednesday night as they suffered another setback, this time a 6-3 loss at the hands of the Vancouver Canucks.

The Wings took one step forward with the win over the Avalanche but two steps back with a meltdown on home ice against the Canucks. Defense was hard to come by for the Wings in the game and it showed in the final score as the Vancouver attack had a seemingly easy time of it.

Vancouver started the scoring early as Ryan Kesler scored his 17th of the year at 3:34 of the first period. Niklas Kronwall stepped up in the defensive zone expecting more help than he got and left Kesler to the net with Dan Cleary trailing. The Livonia, MI native put the puck past Jimmy Howard for his first of the game. 

Jason Williams tied it up with under five to play in the first period with a rocket shot from the high slot for his 5th goal of the year. In the spirit of the 2009-2010 Red Wings, they gave up a goal minutes later as a poorly defended Alex Burrows streaked to the net and deflected a shot past Howard for a 2-1 lead going into the second. The goal started after Kronwall stepped on a puck in the offensive zone and fell to the ice, leaving the Canucks with a 3 on 2 the other way against a forward and defenseman.

Henrik Zetterberg tied it early in the second period with his 200th career goal. Zetterberg deked past a Canuck defender and got Luongo to commit early, giving him a wide open net. The shot came from a small angle but Zetterberg buried it and all looked right with the Wings. For a little bit at least. 

A poor change by Andreas Lilja (hey, it's gonna happen when you miss 366 days) left Kyle Wellwood wide open and a great outlet pass from Aaron Rome put Wellwood in all alone on Howard. A top corner shot made it 3-1 Vancouver. Kronwall took a penalty for hooking and Vancouver capitalized 5 seconds into the power play as a shot from the point by Sami Salo ended Jimmy Howard's night in net. Howard stopped 17 of 21 before heading to the locker room early.

Chris Osgood came on in relief of Howard (odd considering the opposite happening in the first matchup of the season between these two teams) and stopped 10 of 12. The first goal he allowed came after a great no-look shot by former Red Wing Mikael Samuelsson found the top left corner and put the Canucks up 5-2 before the final period.

Kesler scored his second of the game on a power play set up by another Kronwall penalty. The 6th goal all but assured the Canucks the victory. Johan Franzen scored a power play goal with close to 5 minutes remaining in the game. Franzen dished the puck to Pavel Datsyuk in the corner and drove to the net. Datsyuk hit Franzen in stride with a great pass and Franzen scored his 5th of the season and his fourth straight game with a goal.

Shocking stat of the night: How is it that Jonathan Ericsson, Andreas Lilja, and Jason Williams are the players that end up with a + in the +/-? In all honesty, those are the guys I'd least expect to end up with a +. Instead, Nick Lidstrom ended the night with a -3, Brian Rafalski with a -2

What went wrong: The defense sure picked the wrong night to take it easy as Vancouver had a pretty easy night getting to the net and past Detroit defenders. Howard allowed too many goals but 1 and 3 were the direct result of poor defensive play while the 2nd is the result of a deflection.

Player of the game: Henrik Zetterberg. I had Franzen but after all it was Hank's 200th goal and a beauty at that against one of the best goalies in the game. Well done, Hank.