The Wings welcomed the Vancouver Canucks to town for a Friday night matchup at the Joe. The Canucks were playing the second of back-to-backs and the third in four and without Henrik Sedin. Detroit was well-rested, having not played since Monday evening. Naturally, this game featured a blown third period lead. Unnaturally, it wasn't the Wings' lead. Here's how we got to the 4-3 shootout loss.
Things started like a game where the Wings had a few days off and Vancouver didn't, as the first six shots came from Canucks sticks. By the time the shots went 9-1 about seven minutes in, Jimmy Howard robbed Alex Burrows on a great net-front chance for Vancouver. Later in the period, Howard got stung by a Bo Horvat shot and almost gave up a wraparound goal to the kid. Finally after almost 19 minutes of the Wings failing to do much right, Jared McCann opened the scoring as he won a race to the puck out front and lifted it into the top corner to make it 1-0.
Overall, the Wings couldn't complete passes, couldn't find the puck in their own skates, and generally looked like they haven't played hockey in a while. The period pretty much got summed up when Christopher Tanev handed the puck to Tomas Jurco on the doorstep and the result didn't even count as a shot on goal.
Score: 1-0 Canucks
Shots: 17-5 Canucks
Standout Players: Howard
Tough Period: Tatar, Datsyuk, Zetterberg, Kronwall, DeKeyser
The second didn't start much better, as shots went 2-2 for the first five minutes between the teams and then 2-0 in favor of the Canucks over the next five. From there, the Red Wings had a power play where they allowed as many shots as they took. Then, at just over 17 minutes, the Canucks layered a 3-on-2 into the Wings zone to turn it into a low-developing 2-on-1 that Sven Baertschi finished on the cross-ice pass from Bo Horvat to make it 2-0. Fortunately, the Wings got one back with 1:07 to play as Pavel Datsyuk stayed out for a shift with the 4th line and helped create a goal that he didn't even get a point on as Glendening passed to DeKeyser, who banked it into the net off Andersson's stick between Miller's legs. Wings almost tied it in the last 60 seconds and also draw a Prust penalty late, but once again got badly outplayed.
The Wings took almost 40 minutes to wake up. Not fun to watch.
Score: 2-1 Canucks
Shots: 27-10 Canucks
Standout Players: Nope
Tough Period: Everybody
The third started with the Wings blowing a full two-minute power play, but things got better about 90 seconds later as Datsyuk helped dig a puck off the half-wall and then finished a back door pass from Smith to make it 2-2. Sadly the tie didn't last long, as Radim Vrbata picked up a rebound off Howard's toe and skates it around to the opposite end to dump it into an open net to make it 3-2.
Detroit got a power play opportunity about midway through the period as Tomas Tatar split the Vancouver defense and got hooked at the last minute before getting a shot off. The power play couldn't get the job done, but the Wings kept pressure on for a while afterwards, leading to a number of scoring chances and eventually matching minors for Biega and Glendening.
From the 4-on-4, things went a bit ugly for the Wings, as Kronwall took a penalty to make it a 4-on-3 for Vancouver and then Smith took another later to give them an abbreviated 5-on-3. The Wings killed it and rebuilt momentum enough to get pressure on with Howard pulled. Immediately after a faceoff, Henrik Zetterberg was able to roof it in from a sharp angle to make it 3-3 with just over a minute to play. The rest of the period died without anything else dumb happening and Detroit stole a point.
Shots: 39-24 Canucks
Standout Players: Datsyuk, Tatar, Zetterberg
Tough Period: Marchenko, Kronwall
The Wings dominated the overtime period with good shifts by Datsyuk, Zetterberg, Larkin, Helm, Tatar, Green, DeKeyser, and Kronwall, but the Canucks played well in their own zone and Detroit couldn't get any great chances in. Vancouver had a couple very good scoring chances themselves that ended up wide of the net, but at the end of five minutes, we headed to a shootout to settle things.
The shootout ended like you would figure it would end with Howard in net, but not exactly. Brad Richards scored the loan goal on seven attempts, Howard allowed two. 4-3 Canucks is your final.
- The Wings looked real real bad through the first two periods in this game. I don't think there's an excuse for that. I know they had time off, but 40 minutes of flat play against a team like Vancouver is just unacceptable.
- I don't know why Jeff Blashill didn't mix lines up in this one when he's been so quick to head to the blender earlier. It was pretty clear that things weren't working out just right and that there were standouts parked here and there throughout the roster that might have benefited from getting shifts together.
- If the pucks bouncing off of and over the sticks is the fault of El Nino or Al Sobotka, I don't care. I want it fixed.
- This was a stolen point in a game the Wings had no business letting their opponents dominate. Detroit fighting back to earn overtime is a good response to a situation they shouldn't have put themselves in to begin with. People who have been talking all season about their worries for the Wings' comportment have real good reason to crow after this loss.
- For the blame game, I think the Wings forwards didn't do a consistently good job of winning position battles and controlling the puck. I though there were too many bad dump-in decisions and that cost them in transition. For the most part, the defense was caught flat-footed around their own zone too much, though I thought they battled on the boards well. Marchenko and DeKeyser had bad turnovers and Kronwall really struggled in this one.
- Joakim Andersson had a low-key pretty good game.
Player of the Game: Pavel Datsyuk