The Vancouver Canucks will be on the road for the next four games, and their first stop was tonight in hockey town invading Joe Louis Arena taking on the Detroit Red Wings. Vancouver and Detroit are the top two teams in the Western Conference, with Vancouver leading Detroit by eight points and in the race for the President’s Trophy they have a six point advantage over the Philadelphia Flyers. This was the final meeting between the two teams with Detroit winning two of the three previous encounters.
Detroit came into the game short-handed, missing tonight’s game was forwards Pavel Datsyuk, Todd Bertuzzi and Johan Franzen, while Vancouver played their first game without Manny Malhotra, who will miss the rest of the season after having eye surgery as a result of being hit in the eye with the puck last Wednesday in a game against the Colorado Avalanche, Vancouver will miss Malhorta especially in the face- off circle as he led the Canucks in that category. On the positive side Vancouver welcomed back defenseman Kevin Bieksa who had missed the previous 15 games with a foot injury.
The first period ended with no goals being scored, Detroit had the best of the play, and led in shots on goal 11 – 5. Roberto Luongo was the main reason Detroit did not score making big saves on Justin Abdelkader & Henrik Zetterberg late in the period and making his best save on a short-handed breakaway by Darren Helm allowing the Canucks to escape the first period without giving up a goal.
In the second period Vancouver showed why they are top dog in the West peppering Detroit goalie Jimmy Howard with 20 shots and scoring the only goal of the period. Daniel Sedin scored his 39th goal of the year at 6:31when his shot deflected off Nicklas Lidstrom’s skates and eluded Howard.
The third period was a more evenly played with great scoring chances from both teams. Daniel Sedin scored his 40th goal of the year and second of the game with a slap shot that escaped Jimmy Howard who had lost his stick, but Detroit answered back with a power play goal of their own by Jiri Hudler off a rebound which gave the Joe Louis Arena faithful hope. The Red Wings had several opportunities to tie the game but Roberto Luongo would not oblige as he was outstanding all night making 39 saves and preserved the victory and allowed Vancouver to tie a franchise record with 105 points on the season.
Vancouver gets a day off before taking on Atlanta on Friday night as they continue their road trip.
About the Author
Written by Kevin Kelly