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Jimmy Howard’s Stellar Performance Steals the Show Against Vancouver

Wings take advantage of a less-than-stellar Canucks team

NHL: Vancouver Canucks at Detroit Red Wings Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

The Red Wings are on a 1 game winning streak and have a great chance to extend it to 2 games playing a so-so Vancouver Canucks team.

Jimmy Howard makes the start in net and Tyler Bertuzzi is in the line up for his second game after a good debut. Today is also Ken Holland’s birthday, so Happy Birthday Kenny! And today is Orange Hat Day at the Joe, a tribute to long-time season ticket holder Kenneth Rucker. I love that they continue to remember him!

Side note, one of my friends was at this game and said that the Joe was not bumpin’ at all tonight. Apparently the fans were very silent and the arena was half empty. I’m going to chalk it up to exhaustion from all the craziness this week because I’d hate to think that the last season at the Joe isn’t a party.

First Period

The first period was all Red Wings at first. I didn’t even have a chance to settle in before Dylan Larkin scored at the 32-second mark. One of the keys to the game was to take an early lead and well, that’s a good way to do it. A great play by Nyquist allowed Larkin to come in and get the goal.

The Wings were able to hold Vancouver to 1 shot in the first eight minutes and managed to control most of the play.

A very, very blatant Alexandre Burrows dive sent Marchenko to the penalty box but the Wings were able to kill it. Have to give credit to a monster check Ericsson laid on Eriksson (no relation, as per WIIM’s Twitter) near the Wings’ net to prevent a power play goal.

Vancouver rallied in the second half of the period and doubled up on the Wings’ shots on net. It was all for naught though because with less than 2 minutes left, a slap shot from Smith got through everyone, including Miller. He probably should have had that, but whatever! Zetty assisted on both goals so far, so he’s having a good night.

Score: 2- 0 DET

Shots: 13-8 VAN

Same here, pretty much.

Second Period

The Wings started the second period without Athanasiou who took a hard hit from Tryamakin. He is listed as having a lower-body injury and did not return to the game. Why can’t we have nice things?!

After a good start, the Wings were shockingly ineffective at getting shots to the net. Five minutes into the second period, the Canucks had double the shots on net (20 to 10).

Tyler Bertuzzi was making things happen all period, zipping around and forechecking hard. He looks very much at home in the NHL.

The Wings didn’t press as much as they should have this period. A 2-goal lead is comfortable, but this Canucks team is quite desperate and they gave them plenty of chances to get into the game. I just don’t think that the Wings are good enough to take their foot off the gas by the second period.

Although they were terrible at getting shots on net but they did quite well on face-offs, winning over 60% of them.

Score: 2- 0 DET

Shots: 25-16 VAN

Third Period

The Wings started the third period short-handed – a carryover from the second period. The Canucks were noticeable more physical and aggressive against the Wings this period. They forced the puck into the Wings’ zone and kept it there.

Daniel Sedin came close a few minutes into the third but Howard made the save.

He wasn’t that lucky a few seconds later though as a give and go between the twins resulted in a ridiculously beautiful D. Sedin goal. Canucks avoid being shut out for the fifth time this season and come within 1 goal of the Wings.

The Canucks efforts paid off this period as H.Sedin came super close to tying the game. His shot hit the goalpost and got behind Howard – leaving a wide open net. Luckily, Kronwall was able to get to the puck before a Canucks player.

Jimmy Howard may have saved the game for the Wings with a series of frantic sprawling saves against a flurry of Canucks shots that somehow stayed out. Howard showed once again why he can’t be discounted as a second-string goalie. He is having an unreal year so far.

With just under 5 minutes to go the Wings went on a tear, controlling the puck in the Canucks’ zone for an extended time. Steve Ott put the Wings up 3-1 with a tip on Ericsson’s slapshot. Credit to Ericsson here for reading the play and delaying enough to give himself time to get the shot off right.

Score: 3-1 DET

Shots: 38-27 VAN

Red Wings win and improve to .500 record despite being outshot. Quality > Quantity, I guess.