Canucks' 6th straight win a wild one
Niklas Kronwall (DET) — 2G
Manny Malholtra (VAN) — 2G, 1A
It took almost a full period for the Vancouver Canucks and Detroit Red Wings to see the first goal of Saturday night's game, but Daniel Sedin's goal in the dying seconds of the first period marked the first of 10 combined goals and five lead changes in a wild 6-4 Vancouver win.
The Canucks' Ryan Kesler told Hockey Night in Canada's Scott Oake after the game that the score didn't seem to indicate how tight a contest it was.
"The game didn't seem like [a shootout]. There wasn't a lot of room out there and you gotta give both teams credit — they buried the opportunities when they had them."
The victory was the Canucks' (8-3-2) sixth straight and also marked the end of Detroit's (8-3-1) three-game winning streak.
Alex Edler's goal with 11:42 left in regulation proved to be the winner and was the second of three straight Canuck tallies in the final period against a Detroit team that looked a bit worse for wear in the final stages of their second of back-to-back games.
"We had the mindset of this is a measuring stick for us," Kesler said. "We knew they played last night and we needed to come out hard and just play a simple game."
Canucks goalie Roberto Luongo made 24 saves in the win — 18 in the first two periods — while Detroit's Jimmy Howard stopped 28.
The first 19:35 of the game gave no indication whatsoever of the goal-scoring binge; very few chances were given either way as the two teams stymied each other's forays into the offensive zone, save the last 25 seconds of the period.
Taking a pass behind the net from a pinching Edler, Henrik Sedin relayed the rubber to his brother at the side of the net where Daniel banked it off Howard's back and in for the 1-0 lead.
Bounces buoy Wings
A span of 1:38 early in the second period pulled the Red Wings ahead as they benefited from a pair of bounces.
Detroit's Justin Abdelkader sent a rising backhand at the Vancouver net and Luongo blocked the shot away, but the puck deflected off Red Wings' right wing Dan Cleary and into the Canucks' net. Despite protests from Luongo that Cleary knocked the puck in with his glove, a video review determined the goal would stand.
Red Wings defenceman Nicklas Kronwall grabbed his team's first lead by following up his own wrist shot from the slot. He may have sent the puck wide, but it ricocheted off the end boards and into the crease for Kronwall to poke past Luongo for a 2-1 score.
The Canucks replied a little more than a minute later when Mikael Samuelsson tipped a Tanner Glass shot over the blocker of Howard.
Vancouver came a few centimetres away from trailing 3-2 to leading 3-2 late in the middle frame.
The Wings' Jiri Hudler rang a wrister past Luongo but off the crossbar with 2:50 to go before Ryan Kesler took a boarding penalty to send Detroit on the power play.
Vancouver special teams shine
The Vancouver penalty killers seemed to have the upper hand during Kesler's minor, as the Canucks' Manny Malholtra caused a turnover at centre and deked out Howard on a breakaway for a shorthanded marker.
On the same man-advantage, Cleary and Jonathan Ericsson helped the Red Wings power play get back on track before the end of the period. Ericsson's shot from the point eluded Luongo thanks to Cleary's screen and a little bit of contact with Luongo in front of the Vancouver crease.
Kronwall's second goal of the game didn't need a friendly bounce. He took a pass from Johan Franzen at the blue-line and skated to the high slot before beating Luongo over the glove for the Red Wings' second lead of the game.
It lasted a little more than two minutes.
Malholtra threw the puck on net and Jannik Hansen was at the top of the Detroit crease to knock in the rebound to put the teams back on even terms for the fifth time.
"It was nice to contribute offensively but more importantly we got another win, we kept the streak alive and we did it playing the right way," Malhotra said.
"If you look at this room, regardless of who you play with there's an opportunity to have offensive chances."
A pair of Detroit penalties gave Vancouver the lead, their third of the night, for good.
Edler's wrister on a Franzen holding penalty made it 5-4 for the Canucks while Malhotra got two whacks at a shot in front of Howard during a Todd Bertuzzi elbowing penalty for the game's first — and final — two-goal lead.