Things went from bad to worse for the Red Wings and beleaguered backup goalie Manny Legace on Monday night. The team turned over the puck repeatedly, hung their goalie out to dry, and suffered a 5-1 loss to the Vancouver Canucks.
The game started out slowly for both teams. The Red Wings had two power plays, but the Canucks did a good job of breaking up the passes and sending the puck down to the other end of the rink.
Vancouver’s first goal seemed to originate with a piece of bad luck. A linesman accidentally got in Darren McCarty‘s way, giving Markus Naslund the chance to steal the puck away from McCarty. Naslund and Todd Bertuzzi crossed into the zone on a two-on-one against Chris Chelios. Chelios was unable to take the passing lane away, Naslund sent the puck across, and Bertuzzi put the puck into the net over Legace’s left shoulder at 18:32.
The second period was completely dominated by Vancouver, while Detroit just couldn’t seem to muster a defense or an offense and continued to turn the puck over at very bad times. Brendan Morrison opened the second period goal-fest by putting in the rebound from a Naslund breakaway shot before anyone could get the puck to safety.
Naslund picked up a goal to go with his two assists when Mattias Ohlund picked off another pass at the blue line. Ohlund passed across to Naslund just inside Detroit’s zone. Mathieu Dandenault attempted to block Naslund’s shot with his stick, but instead he wound up deflecting it up over Legace’s shoulder.
King added his second goal on Vancouver’s only full power play of the game, with Steve Yzerman in the box for hooking. Henrik Sedin got the puck up to the corner of the net, and King kept whacking at it until it rolled underneath Legace.
Brett Hull spoiled Dan Cloutier’s shutout with 12:52 left in the game. Kirk Maltby passed from the high slot to Hull at the left side, and Hull wristed a shot into a tiny puck-sized space between Cloutier and his goalpost.
The Red Wings straightened up and did a better job of protecting their goalie in the third period, but it was far too late for it to make a difference in this game.
Williams got some extra playing time in the third period. The coaching staff kept Yzerman on the bench to rest his knee, letting Williams play center for both his normal line with Holmstrom and Boyd Devereaux, and for Yzerman’s line with Ray Whitney and Brendan Shanahan. Yzerman, however, was very much in evidence on the bench, shouting out suggestions and advice to try to keep his team from falling apart altogether.
Vancouver outshot Detroit by a count of 25-23. The Red Wings will finish their road trip tomorrow night when they visit the Calgary Flames.
Team owner Mike Illitch was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame tonight.