Vancouver Canucks, Detroit Red Wings

Red Wings Handle Canucks 5-2

Gee, did you think the Canucks might have had a letdown in Detroit for a meaningless game against another Eastern Conference foe after coming back in dramatic fashion to beat their former captain Bo Horvat and the New York Islanders on Thursday night.

How about two Red Wings goals on their first two shots against goaltender Spencer Martin.

Then, throw in the fact the Canucks were playing this matinee at 9 am pacific time, and even if you’re on the road for a few days ahead of that, it’s a bit of an adjustment to say the least.

Slowing It Down

The NHL’s worst penalty kill calmed things down in the first period after the Canucks fell behind. Vancouver’s PK entered action at Little Caesars Arena with a hard-to-believe success rate of just 65.8% coming into this game, but managed to kill off three consecutive Red Wings power plays.

What could have been an embarrassing waste of time turned into a match worth watching.

Canucks Goal Scorers

2nd Period

2-1 Red Wings – Power Play – Anthony Beauvillier (11) from J.T. Miller and Quinn Hughes, 2:02

Beauvillier took a pass in the bumper, had time to take a step and go top shelf on Ville Husso from the low slot.

Beauvillier has goals in back-to-back games, including the game winner Thursday, and Hughes has a three-game point streak.

Before the period was over, that penalty killing magic ended as Red Wings captain Dylan Larkin lit the lamp on the PP for his 2nd goal of the night and 18th of the season at 13:17. A 15-minute mini-poll question on twitter between periods had 73% of respondents believing Larkin would convert the hat trick before the afternoon was over.

He didn’t, and because of the lopsided score, didn’t have the benefit of an empty-net opportunity.

Turning Point

With Detroit up 3-1, Vancouver D-man Ethan Bear earned a penalty shot just a minute-and-a-half into the third period. Going to the net on a breakaway, he was tripped by Red Wings defenceman Filip Hronek, crashed hard into the end boards and left the game. Hughes took the penalty shot for him, had Husso beat on a deke, but the puck hopped off his stick and slid wide. Moments later Detroit would score. Instead of 3-2, it was 4-1.

At 9:05 the Red Wings would add another power play goal, Jonatan Berggren’s 2nd tally of the night. 5-1 Detroit.

Elias Pettersson would get a goal back 1:20 later, cashing in on a rebound.

3rd Period

5-2 Red Wings – Even Strength – Elias Pettersson (25) from Anthony Beauvillier, 10:25

On a 2-on-1, Beavillier fired a shot and ‘Petey’ banged in the rebound after delivering the initial pass.

The Canucks outshot the Red Wings 35-25. Power plays: Vancouver 1-for-3, Detroit 2-for-6

Rob Simpson

Rob Simpson has covered the NHL in five different decades. He’s authored 4 books on hockey and is a veteran TV and radio play-by-play man and reporter.