Tonight, the Red Wings' defensive strategy was effective against every Vancouver Canuck but one: Daniel Sedin. Sedin scored his first 4-goal game ever to put the Canucks over the Wings, 4-2.
Both teams had good jump to start the game. Brett Hull, Pavel Datsyuk, and Ray Whitney worked hard and tested Dan Cloutier early, making the Vancouver goalie jump and scramble to keep the puck out of the net.
Sedin's first tally came on an almost-fluke goal with 7:27 left in the first. Marek Malik threw a pass from the right point to Sedin waiting near the side of the net. Sedin shot the puck along the goal line, and it banked off the back of Manny Legace's skate and into the net.
Henrik Zetterberg tied the game up with a power play goal a few minutes later. A pass by Whitney bounced off Hull in the slot area. Zetterberg was able to get his stick on the puck and lift a high shot just under the crossbar.
Darren McCarty livened up the end of the period with a fight against Bryan Allen. Allen, you may recall, was the player who broke Zetterberg's leg with a slash on November 3. Allen was also involved in the collision which resulted in a torn ACL for Derian Hatcher back on October 16.
The Red Wings moved into the lead when Kris Draper's power play slapshot from the right circle deflected off of Allen and past Cloutier early in the second period, but Sedin retied the game just over three minutes later. Legace stopped Nolan Baumgartner's breakaway shot, but was knocked into the net and didn't have time to get back up before Malik fished the puck out of the corner and centered it for Sedin to bang it in low.
Legace held off the Canucks' onslaught of shots in the third period, making huge saves against Sami Salo's point shot and Brendan Morrison's try from point-blank range, but Sedin finally moved his team back ino the lead. He carried the puck in on the right wing side. Jiri Fischer attempted to get in Sedin's way, but Sedin managed to get a high shot over Legace's shoulder.
The Wings pulled Legace for an extra skater with just over a minute to play. They gave Cloutier some anxious seconds, but Morrison managed to clear the puck from Vancouver's zone, and Sedin was able to skate it down the ice to fire into the empty net.
Vancouver outshot Detroit by a modest margin of 33 to 30. The Red Wings will finish out their road trip with a Thursday night matchup against the Calgary Flames.
Notes: Chris Chelios left the game late in the second period after he fell and Todd Bertuzzi landed on him. The team is calling the injury a bruised left shoulder for now, but it will likely be re-evaluated in the morning"¦. Many of the Canucks' fans showed a considerable lack of class by booing Chelios while he lay on the ice writhing in pain. The custom around the NHL is to clap for an injured opponent as he makes his way off the ice. Booing a fallen opponent, no matter what history he may have with your team, is the height of fan rudeness, in this reporter's opinion. (To the Canucks' fans who did clap politely: Thank you. Your class is appreciated.)
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