After three straight losses following their 4-1 start, the Wings looked to get back in the win column tonight against the equally-bad and slightly banged up Canucks. The way things turned out couldn’t have been more different. The ‘Nucks dominated the second period and the Wings played an overall lazy game en route to a 4-1 loss to make it four in a row.
The Wings got off to a nice start, generating a few good chances early on including a front door chance for Gustav Nyquist that he wasn’t able to bury. Anthony Mantha just missed far-side off the rush too. Niklas Kronwall had a chance for a shot but couldn’t finish the play Zetterberg and Mantha started.
Nice moves by Zetterberg to gain the zone, keep control, kick off the passing play. Unfortunately...Kronwall. pic.twitter.com/aymzYuwKsN— Sean Tierney (@ChartingHockey) October 22, 2017
But the new slashing rule reared its ugly head for the Wings, as Mike Green was sent off about five minutes in. Apart from a net front scramble, the Canucks didn’t do much with the advantage and even gave up a 2-on-1 to Darren Helm and Frans Nielsen that Jacob Markstrom had to fight off.
Halfway through the first period and the team seemed to be clicking. Martin Frk made a filthy cross-ice, tape-to-tape pass over to Trevor Daley but he wasn’t able to finish off the play.
Heckuva pass by Frk to Daley to set up a great chance pic.twitter.com/j7ywuEa3I9— Prashanth Iyer (@iyer_prashanth) October 22, 2017
A few minutes later Luke Witkowski and the Wings’ fourth line got in on the action and nearly shoveled one home but Markstrom stood tall in net.
Overall, the Wings had the better chances early on in the period until about five minutes left. A broken play in the defensive zone kept the puck deep and Jonathan Ericsson lost his man in front of the net, allowing Sven Baertschi to slide the puck home juuuuuust past Jimmy Howard to put the Canucks up 1-0 with 5:20 to go in the frame.
Two minutes later Dylan Larkin had a chance to even this one up as the Wings worked the puck from below the goal line to right out in front of the net but, again, Markstrom somehow kept the puck out. Larkin’s chance made what I counted to be four or five net front chances for the Wings that should have resulted in at least one goal.
Lucky for the Wings, they have Anthony Mantha. Nyquist brought the puck in for the Wings and slid it over to Mantha who rifled one home from the left circle.
Mantha can really shoot. pic.twitter.com/EIcAZhSNCL— Sean Tierney (@ChartingHockey) October 22, 2017
*Italian chef kisses fingers*
Also, nice play from Zetterberg to stay on side there. Mantha’s up to 8 points in 9 games to start the year with that goal.
That’s where things stood to end the first. Wings and Canucks all tied up at one apiece.
Shots (on goal):
DET: 16 (9)
VAN: 19 (11)
This one picked up where the first left off, although the Canucks generally seemed to control the play through the first five minutes. Thomas Vanek had a chance for a shot on Howard here but elected to pass instead.
Thomas Vanek tries to make the pass but Daley denies it. Makes up for his turnover earlier in the shift pic.twitter.com/OUt050WVIM— Prashanth Iyer (@iyer_prashanth) October 23, 2017
Baertschi also had a clean shot on Howard but couldn’t elevate the puck over Jimmy’s pad. Nyquist and Mantha nearly made a bit of magic happen at the other end of the ice, but Mantha wasn’t able to knock the puck in out of mid-air on the doorstep.
The Canucks continued to come after the Wings, appearing much quicker than the Wings as things drew on in the period. Derek Dorsett managed to get behind the defense in the defensive zone, took the pass from the opposite side of the ice and put one past Jimmy Howard to put the Canucks up 2-1. Howard made the initial save but the puck deflected into the air off his glove and bounced into the net.
Canucks' leading scorer Derek Dorsett (what) scores to put the Canucks up 2-1 pic.twitter.com/R7ZWCBzFUD— Prashanth Iyer (@iyer_prashanth) October 23, 2017
Soon after, Vancouver hit the junction between the post and the bar but the puck stayed out of the net, at least that’s what the call on the ice was.
The Gudbranson shot that rang off the crossbar pic.twitter.com/PGU4WjSnAd— Prashanth Iyer (@iyer_prashanth) October 23, 2017
They took a look at it as play went on and confirmed the call, but we came that close to being down 3-1 to a team whose leading goal scorer is a 4th line winger. After a solid first period, things got out of hand through 10 minutes in the second.
The problem is the Wings actually would go down 3-1 to a team whose leading scorer is a 4th line winger just a few minutes later. Ouellet failed to clear the zone, flipped the puck towards Baertschi at the top of the zone and was helpless to watch as Baertschi potted his second of the night behind Howard to put Vancouver up by 2 with just over 6 minutes left.
DET decides to make life for Howard miserable by giving up another high quality chance. 3-1 Canucks pic.twitter.com/5p3IsUgeTD— Prashanth Iyer (@iyer_prashanth) October 23, 2017
With 5 minutes left the Canucks had out-shot the Wings 21-9 (14-4 if we’re talking about shots on goal). It was that kind of period. Full disclosure: I flipped over to Sunday Night Football with 3 minutes left. I figured that was fine, since the Wings seemed equally uninterested in this hockey game.
Oh, Jake Virtanen put the ‘Nucks up 4-1 with 20 seconds left to make matters worse.
Shots (on goal):
DET: 29 (15)
VAN: 44 (28)
The Wings came out with a little bit more jump in their step to start the period than they had in the second, although that’s not a particularly high bar to clear. Still, there wasn’t enough urgency and the Wings allowed a 3-on-1 a few minutes in that Howard had to fight off.
Just over six minutes in and Tomas Tatar was sent off for hooking, so the Canucks had a chance to add even more insult to injury. Which they nearly did too, if Henrik Sedin hadn’t missed a wide open net on the doorstep. At this point in the game, 11 minutes left, the Wings had 16 shots on goal and the Canucks had 34. Yes, they managed just one shot on goal in the first 10 minutes of the period.
Their best (and only) chance up to this point in the third came on a point shot from Ouellet that Markstrom had to fight off.
Other than a net front scramble with a few minutes left, the Wings never found themselves in much of a position to make this one closer. They squandered a powerplay opportunity with 6:30 left in the game and just seemed out of sync as they had since the puck dropped for the second period.
This was a lousy effort for the last 40 minutes and it showed. The losing streak is now four, and hopefully the Wings can learn from this one and move past it. This was not fun hockey to watch by any means, and I think the amount of fans who stayed in their seats tonight reflects that.
Final shots (on goal):
DET: 49 (21)
VAN: 56 (37)