Shootout Magic Continues
The Red Wings dominated early and withstood a late Canucks surge to beat Vancouver and move up to 15-14-0 on the road. Detroit remains undefeated in shootouts this season and has opened up five point leads on Vancouver and Nashville for the #1 seed in the West and Central Division lead respectively.
Detroit carried the play in the first two periods, outshooting Vancouver 30-11 but were unable to muster more than a 2-1 lead. Danny Cleary opened the scoring on a superb individual effort 5:27 into the game. The Canucks answered with 3:47 left in the first when Michigan native Ryan Kesler put home a loose puck in front of Howard. The Red Wings wore even more formidable in the second, sending 15 shots at Luongo and holding the Canucks to 3, but only found the back of the net once. Jiri Hudler scored off a great pass from Filppula at 13:51.
The Canucks came alive in the third and maintained possession in the Wings zone for long spans of time. Alex Burrows tied it up at 10:10 off a bad giveaway by Drew Miller. Less than two minutes later, Miller redeemed himself with a goal from Cleary and Stuart putting Detroit back in the lead. Detroit was unable to stave off the Canucks' attack and Mason Raymond tied it back up when his shot deflected off Brad Stuart and sailed past Howard into the net.
Detroit controlled play in overtime with 5 shots to Vancouver's 1 but were unable to light the lamp. Jimmy Howard stopped Alex Edler who started the shootout. Pavel Datsyuk deked Luongo and shot it over him to put Detroit up 1-0. Jimmy Howard stood his ground as Mason Raymond stickhandled in, forcing Raymond to lose the puck. Jiri Hudler sealed the Canucks' fate with a shot low stick side past Luongo to win it for Detroit.
The Red Wings who have the least amount of fights this season, dropped the gloves twice tonight. Abdelkader and Lapierre tangled for the second time this season with Abby pulling him down and birthday boy Bertuzzi took down Keith Ballard in a third period bout.
Jimmy Howard stopped 22 of the 25 shots he faced and secured his league leading 32nd win of the year. He's on pace to break Martin Brodeur's single-season win record of 48. The Red Wings' abysmal power play performance continued as they went 0-4. Struggling scorer Henrik Zetterberg looked dangerous at times but was unable to get on to the score sheet. Neither Tomas Holmstrom nor Danny Cleary seemed hampered by their recent injuries.