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Wings Top Canucks in Shootout, 3-2

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Howard Clips Pettersson and High Flying Canucks

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

The Red Wings came into the match-up tonight following a loss to Edmonton on Saturday when their first win streak of the season came to an end. Their opponent tonight comes in riding a surprising 9-6 record for a team that was expected to be near the bottom of the standings. Leading the Canucks, and a player to watch in this one was Elias Pettersson who had 9 goals and 15 points coming in to lead all rookies. One pundit even made the comparison of Pettersson to a certain former Detroit superstar:

For the Wings, Nielsen was a late scratch as he was a game-time decision coming in. Instead Christoffer Ehn drew in on the 4th line with others adjusting accordingly and De la Rose taking Nielsen’s spot with Rasmussen and Nyquist. The Wings remain thin up front with Nielsen missing this one and Athanasiou still out as well.

Howard got the start for the Wings riding a 3.06 GAA and .912 SV% after Bernier got the start against Edmonton. For Vancouver, Jacob Markstrom came in with a 6-3-0 record, 3.27 GAA, and .899 SV%. Could the Wings slow Pettersson and Co. down in this one?

1st Period

This game got off to a slow start with not much happening. The Canucks had the first 4 shots on net before Nyquist managed to put a shot on Markstrom. Following that slow start it was the 4th line of Frk-Ehn-Megan that generated the first real pressure for the Wings. Howard stood tall on an early Eriksson breakaway off a Larkin turnover. The Wings followed that chance up with one of their own on a scramble play behind the net that Bertuzzi tried to move out front to Abdelkader before Markstrom could get back in position but the puck didn’t get to Abdelkader.

On a shift at the 13:00 mark of the period, the Canucks Pettersson line got some sustained pressure and if you didn’t know better you would of thought they were on a powerplay. But the Wings held through the onslaught before finally being able to get a change following a clearing off a faceoff after an icing. Unfortunately on the follow up shift DeKeyser caught a Canuck with a high stick and the Canucks got their first shot at a real powerplay. The Canucks had some very pretty passing to open the powerplay and found an open Pettersson at the right dot but he whiffed on his shot attempt. The Wings managed to kill off the remainder of the penalty without the Canucks generating another scoring chance.

The 4th line for the Wings came with another good shift after the penalty kill with Megan getting two chances to beat Markstrom from point blank but couldn’t find the net on the Wings best chance to that point. A few shifts later Pettersson picked up a loose bouncing puck at the Wings blue line, stepped across the line, wound up from the top of the circle and launched one over Howard’s glove to the top corner, 1-0 Canucks. Hard to really blame Jimmy on this one as it was a bullet.

The 4th line came out for another shift with about 3:00 left in the period and brought the energy again with Megan forcing a turnover behind the Canucks net. Megan worked it to Daley who slid it down to Frk sitting below the faceoff dots; Frk unloaded a one timer that caught the short side post. On the next shift Archibald got behind the Wings defense on a flipped puck over the blue line and stretched Howard out across the net, but Howard got his pad extended to make the save on the backhand shot. The Wings had the next chance with Green getting a shot off from the top of the zone, unfortunately Rasmussen was a bit late getting to the front of the net making it a fairly routine save for Markstrom.

With less than a minute left in the period Larkin took a spill in the Canucks corner. The Canucks defender Roussel swept by and caught the back of Larkin’s foot, but it would not be considered a slew foot, more incidental. Unfortunately, Larkin fell back on his tailbone and went straight to the room after struggling to get up.

The Canucks ended the period with a 17-7 shot advantage and it was very evident in the play in the period, the Wings needed to generate more moving ahead. There has been a lot of Pettersson praise and even the FSD broadcast was getting in on the action with a highlight package of the youngster from the first period. But the praise is warranted, the kid is oozing talent. For the Wings, the 4th line was easily the most dangerous generating several chances and may have actually generated more than the other three lines combined.

2nd Period

Larkin was not on the bench to start the 2nd period, and if you listened carefully you could hear the entire fan base scream. Fortunately, a short time later...

After dodging that proverbial bullet and returning to the action, the Canucks once again had the first few shots of the period testing Jimmy early. On one of those shots Megan drove Archibald into Howard. Jimmy was never the less upset and through some shots at Archibald to deter future net crashing activity.

Not long later Jimmy made a big time save on a puck that was flipped over top of him but he reached up and punched away the puck with his blocker, not once but twice.

Following that save by Howard, the Canucks got caught on a line change and Frk was wide open for a stretch pass. He stepped into the zone and ripped a slapshot short side on Markstrom, 1-1. However the Canucks immediately looked to challenge for offside, and it was clearly evident Frk was too early into the zone taking the pass. There was a funny exchange between Mickey and Ken where Mickey tried his darndest to find a way to consider the play onside. This review at least treated us to a Wes McCauley enthusiastic “NO GOAL”, still 1-0 Canucks.

A little later the Canucks took a Gudbranson penalty on a high stick to Larkin. The Wings made a nifty play carrying the puck in on the powerplay with Cholowski dumping the puck to the corner after pulling up at the top of the zone to where only Bertuzzi could get it. Bertuzzi too the puck towards the back of the net but slid a backhand pass to the top of the crease with two teammates in the crease area but nobody able to connect with the puck. There weren’t any other notable chances on a disjointed looking Wings powerplay.

The Wings started to generate some pressure following the overturned goal but it was short lived. The Canucks got the puck down deep into the Wings zone and worked it to the point. Hutton put a floater on net from the point that deflected off DeKeyser’s leg and Jimmy wasn’t able to react in time to make the save, 2-0 Canucks. However in a bit of tit for tat the Wings now challenged for offside, and they had a good case as on the initial zone entry the Canucks appeared to not exit the zone before reentering with the puck. However after a lengthy review the call was upheld on a very close play. As an extra kick, the Wings were assessed a bench minor for the failed challenge.

The Wings were able to kill the delay penalty without allowing any scoring chances. Just as the penalty came to an end the Canucks’ Gaudette got caught holding up Helm trying to enter the Canucks zone and the Wings got their turn on the powerplay. The Wings worked the puck across the top of the Canucks zone. Mike Green slid the puck to the halfboards to Larkin. Larkin tried to fire a pass across the slot to Frk on the far side but it caught a Canuck skate out front. Abdelkader picked up the loose puck in the slot and fired one back to the opposite side over a sliding Markstrom, 2-1.

The Wings looked to build off the goal and started to bring some pressure they failed to deliver previously in the game. Once again the 4th line for the Wings managed to generate the most pressure in the offensive zone. Mantha had a good shift near the end of the period using some power moves to get to the slot and lay a hit on Gudbranson. That was the first noteworthy shift from him on a quiet night to this point.

The Wings closed the period by putting a few shots on net but no scoring chances of note. Detroit closed the shot gap by outshooting the Canucks 11-7 in the period, to bring the game total to 24-18 Vancouver. For the Wings to have a chance to tie this one up in the 3rd period they were going to need more from the top tier players up front. The top lines did not generate much of anything with the 4th line being the focus of the highlight packages at the intermission. On the flip side, the Wings did a good job of limiting the Canucks chances in the period.

3rd Period

The Wings opened with the first few shots of the period this time. They had a good chance early, Larkin circled behind the net and slid a puck to the slot to a pinching Daley who put the puck on net. Markstrom made the save and after a brief scramble found the loose puck and covered up. The next shift Bertuzzi put a shot just wide as he cut across the slot trying to use the defender as a screen. The Wings continued to put the pressure on with the next line out of Nyquist - De la Rose - Rasmussen. De la Rose came down the right side and put a puck on net, Markstrom struggled to control the rebound and Nyquist picked it up and put a shot out front that went off the defender’s skate and found the net, 2-2.

It appeared the Wings top lines came to play in this final period. Shortly after the goal Horvat hit a goal post on one of the first Canucks attempts of the period. Howard then came up with a series of saves when a couple of Canucks players found themselves with inside position in the Wings crease. The Wings had the next chance after a shot off the post found it’s way to Larkin on the left side. Larkin just getting up from an apparent missed high stick, had a sprawled Markstrom at his mercy but misfired and put the shot low through the crease that may have caught a piece of Markstrom’s pad. The pace had noticeably picked up at this point with the teams trading chances off rushes back and forth.

The high speed action came to a close with a Red Wings high sticking penalty. The Wings did a good job killing the penalty, and as it was coming to an end they jumped on a loose puck as Pettersson fell cutting across the top of the slot. Helm and De la Rose took off on a 2 on 1 with Helm lofting a pass to De la Rose over the defender’s stick and the pass was just a bit high for De la Rose to handle and the puck scuttled to the corner.

A few minutes later Cholowski let a blast go from the point that if it had not deflected off a defender into Markstrom was likely labelled for the top corner. The middle of the period did not include any real chances either way as the game started to settle into a slow pace after the early action in the period. The Helm-Larkin-Mantha generated a chance in the last few minutes on a 3 on 2 with Larkin sliding a pass over to Helm who one timed it on net, but Markstrom was in position reading the play and made the save. Both teams settled into a defensive mode over the latter parts of the final frame and nothing of danger was generated either way. Larkin noticeably took a beating in this one after absorbing an inadvertent elbow in the corner. The final seconds of the period ticked away and both teams played most of the 3rd period with the intent of teams wanting to get to overtime.

The Canucks outshot the Wings 14-11 in the 3rd period for a game total advantage 38-29 through regulation. Detroit did look more alive in this period with the top lines starting to generate more opportunities.

Overtime

Horvat opened with the first chance with Green draped on his back and tried to go backhand on Jimmy. Howard squeezed his arm just enough that the trickling puck remained short of the goal line. The next chance was Detroit’s as DeKeyser hit a streaking Larkin who collided with Markstrom. Next up was a 2 on 1 rush for Canucks with Pettersson taking the keeper on the play and rifling a wrister off the bar that Howard may have caught a small piece of. Next up De la Rose turned a puck over in the Vancouver end and the Canucks could not bury on the odd man rush the other way as Green made a nice defensive play to get his stick in the way of the attempted pass. With about 40 seconds left the Wings with a great chance on a give and go between Nyquist and Larkin with Nyquist putting a backhand on net from the cross slot feed but Markstrom made a spectacular glove save sliding across. After the teams exchanged several chances both ways the game went to a shootout...

Shootout

After the exciting overtime session this game was settled in a shootout:

Round 1: Larkin comes in down the right side and makes a move to the forehand and puts it over Markstrom’s pad, goal.

Pettersson comes in slow and makes a quick backhand-forehand move but loses the puck on second half of the deke and Howard watched the puck slide wide, no goal.

Round 2: Nyquist comes in straight one and fires a shot off Markstrom’s left shoulder that stings the goaltender but doesn’t beat him, no goal.

Goldobin comes down the middle and tries to fire a shot just over Jimmy’s right pad but Jimmy reads the shot and gets himself into position to steer the shot wide, no goal.

Round 3: Abdelkader comes in going across right to left and tries to open Markstrom up to tuck it five hole but Markstrom sealed it shut, no goal.

Horvat comes in straight on Howard, fakes to the backhand and goes forehand and tries to tuck it in but Howard gets the pad extended to make the save, no goal.

Wings Win!!!

Wrapping Up

The Canucks had more chances than the Wings in this one but they did a good job keeping up with the young Canucks squad for the most part. In particular the 4th line was impressive tonight despite almost no ice time in the 3rd period. Expect to see the Frk-Ehn-Megan combination again Friday. Mantha was disappointing in this one as there was only 2 or 3 shifts where you could even notice he was on the ice, hopefully he finds his bearings soon. Jimmy Howard did a great job in this one keeping the game close and giving up 2 on 42 shots and pitching the shutout in the shootout. The Wings win this one and that makes 4 out of 5 games and suddenly this team is trending in a positive direction.