After a shaky first period, the Red Wings all but destroy the Vancouver Canucks in an 8 – 3 victory, leading into two days off.
Jimmy Howard got his confidence boosted early with a spectacular save on Maxim Lapierre’s early breakaway. Vancouver then opened the scoring at 5:45 on a wrist shot from Daniel Sedin. The Red Wings shortly after went on the power play from a hooking call to Ryan Kesler, and then had 13 seconds of 5-on-3 for a delay of game call against Chris Tanev. Neither power play was converted on by the Wings.
Red Wings then peppered Roberto Luongo for two consecutive goals, the first unassisted by Jordin Tootoo at 11:08, a wrister that deflected off a Canucks defenseman for his 2nd of the season. About a minute and a half later, Niklas Kronwall put in his 3rd of the season off a slapshot at 12:37. Assists went to Pavel Datsyuk and Daniel Cleary on a 6-on-5 delayed penalty call against the Canucks. Vancouver came right back, scoring two more goals at 16:18, and 18:26 by Daniel Sedin and Chris Higgins respectively.
Wings went to a power play early in the 2nd, for a goaltender interference call against Zack Kassian at 1:45. It was then that the Wings’ power play came to life for the first time this season. Daniel Cleary tapped in his 4th goal of the season only 12 seconds into the power play, with assists going to Damien Brunner and Henrik Zetterberg. Penalties then went to Jordin Tootoo for charging Zack Kassian, who took a matching penalty for roughing, putting teams 4-on-4. Neither team scored on the opportunity.
Another power play for the Wings came towards the end of the period, on a penalty to Dale Weise for a hit to the head of Kent Huskins at 14:20. Henrik Zetterberg then redirected a shot from Pavel Datsyuk and Niklas Kronwall for his 6th goal of the season, and the Red Wings’ 2nd power play goal of the game. Damien Brunner took a hooking call shortly after, that the penalty kill did away with very effectively. Zack Kassian took a penalty for the Canucks for unsportsmanlike conduct, which the Wings once again converted on. Brunner wristed in his 9th of the season off assist from Henrik Zetterberg and Niklas Kronwall.
Justin Abdelkader took a stick holding penalty at the end of the 2nd, putting the Red Wings on the penalty kill at the beginning of the 3rd, again killing it off effectively. Damien Brunner then opened the 3rd period scoring at 9:36 for his team-leading 10th goal of the season, giving assists to Valtteri Filppula and Jonathan Ericsson. Showing that he’s ready for a permanent roster spot, Joakim Andersson then put in 2 back-to-back goals merely 52 seconds apart. The first goal slapped in at 16:39, and the second one-timed at 17:31 off passes from Damien Brunner and Jonathan Ericsson, giving him his 3rd goal of the season and the Red Wings their final score of 8 for the game.
The Good: The power play is finally showing positive signs of life, now that we’re more than ⅓ of the way through the season. It’s also very nice to see Kronwall putting up back-to-back 6 point games, giving him the league lead in points among all defensemen. (Previously held by Kevin Shattenkirk of St. Louis). Brunner also takes the team lead in goals with 10 this season. Also, every goal scored in the 2nd period from the Wings’ side was a power play goal.
The Bad: The Red Wings still need to be more attentive on pucks left for them in their own zone. Too many turnovers had to be turned away by Jimmy Howard, and they came off of shots that should never have happened.
The Ugly: Datsyuk had a goal waved off in the 2nd period, for the puck getting redirected in the net above the crossbar. Patrick Eaves also had a goal waved off from a delayed penalty to the Canucks. Luongo got his glove on the puck last minute and the whistle was blown just before Eaves took possession of the puck and put it in the net.
The Red Wings now get two nights off before a road trip Westward for back-to-back games Wednesday and Thursday nights. We can only hope they keep up the positives on the power play, and that they can play tired as well as they did tonight in their game on Thursday.