In spite of strong first and second periods, and an excellent job in net by Curtis Joseph, the Red Wings took a 4-3 overtime loss to the Vancouver Canucks.
The first period was scoreless, and both teams’ best opportunities for goals came short-handed. Dan Cloutier stopped Sergei Fedorov with a glove save 4:40 into the period. Curtis Joseph later denied Trevor Linden as he came in off the right wing side and cut to the front of the net.
The Red Wings took a 2-0 lead in the span of 1:03 early in the second period.
Fedorov broke the scoreless tie with a power-play goal. His slap shot from the point deflected off a Canuck player’s stick for his 23rd goal of the season. Just over a minute later, Henrik Zetterberg stuffed a shot through Cloutier’s pads.
Igor Larionov set up Luc Robitaille early in the third. Robitaille spun around to take the pass in the high slot and one-timed the puck through to the net. Robitaille’s second goal in two games was enoigh to drive Cloutier to the bench in favor of Peter Skudra.
The goalie switch shook up the Canucks enough that Trevor Linden got Vancouver on the board at 4:59 of the third period with a wrist shot from the slot. Henrik Sedin made the centering pass from the corner to set up the goal.
The Red Wings valiantly killed off a 1:02 5-on-3 power play midway through the third. With both Dmitri Bykov and Nicklas Lidstrom in the box, Kris Draper, Kirk Maltby, and Chris Chelios did a phenomenal job protecting Joseph and the lead until Bykov could come out of the box to help the defense.
The Canucks did manage to score in the remaining time 5-on-4. Trent Klatt crashed the net- literally. He plowed into Joseph, pushing the puck in ahead of him and knocking the net off its moorings. The Wings tried to make the argument that Joseph had been interfered with, but referee Don Van Massenhoven made the call that the goal counted.
Vancouver pulled Skudra from the net for the extra skater in the last minute of play, and a horrible bounce let the Canucks tie the game. With only 25 seconds remaining, the puck, which should have gone harmlessly into the corner, bounced off the skate of Van Massenhoven and centered to the perfect position for Markus Naslund to put into the net as Joseph flung his body across in an attempt to keep it out.
Marek Malik scored the game winning goal with 1:58 left in overtime.
The final count of shots on net was 37-30 for the Canucks. The Red Wings’ next game will be Thursday evening against the Edmonton Oilers.
Steve Yzerman should be returning to the lineup very soon, according to reports in the Detroit News and Detroit Free Press. He hopes to finalize his plans with coach Dave Lewis in the next few days. “I don’t care for it to be too big a deal,” Yzerman said Monday about his return. “I’ll just get in as quietly as I can, with as little fanfare as possible. I’m pretty optimistic it’s going to go well, but I’d like to find out soon. I’m a little bit anxious, I guess.”