It took the Red Wings awhile to get the game going, but Luc Robitaille’s landmark 610th career goal got them started, and they went on to beat the Vancouver Canucks 5-4.
The game did not start well for the Red Wings. Vancouver scored their first goal of the game just under six minutes in when Markus Naslund managed to flip the puck into the net just after Todd Bertuzzi knocked Dominik Hasek to the ice. Hasek recovered quickly, but not quickly enough to get his glove up to catch the fluttering puck.
Detroit got another bad break when Kris Draper was given a four-minute double minor penalty for high-sticking. Just before the first two minutes was up, defenseman Brent Sopel stuffed the puck past Hasek on the rebound from Daniel Sedin’s shot from the blue line.
Bertuzzi and his toughness got the Canucks another goal before the end of the period. He pulled Igor Larionov out of the way, took the pass from Naslund, and flipped it in over Hasek.
The Red Wings increased offensive pressure in the second period, but weren’t able to get the puck past goaltender Peter Skudra and his oversized legpads until there was just over two minutes left to play. Nick Lidstrom took a shot from the blue line, and Luc Robitaille was there to pick up the rebound and put it past Skudra to score his milestone goal, tying him with Bobby Hull for the all-time greatest number of goals scored by a left winger.
The Wings ended the period in four-on-four play, and suffered a loss of momentum. Bertuzzi and Brendan Shanahan had simultaneous minor penalties, and Andrew Cassels was able to get the puck from a neutral zone turnover and fire it at Hasek. It deflected off of Lidstrom’s skate and into Hasek’s net.
The third period was all Detroit. Before the period was four minutes old, Mattias Ohlund was sent to the box for tripping, and Brendan Shanahan scored on the resulting power play by deflecting a shot from Steve Yzerman into the net off of his rear end.
Pavel Datsyuk scored only fifty-two seconds later by putting an amazing deke on both Vancouver defensemen, leaving them wondering how that rookie got by them with the puck. Skudra had no chance at all, and just like that, it was a one-goal game.
Detroit continued the pressure, and were rewarded when Brett Hull scored the equalizing goal with six and a half minutes left in regulation play. Sergei Fedorov, playing on defense for his fourth game, took a hard shot from the blue line. Skudra wasn’t able to contain the rebound, and Datsyuk patiently gathered it in and passed across the crease to Hull, who was easily able to flip the puck in over Skudra.
The momentum kept on going in Detroit’s favor, but they were not able to score again until two and a half minutes of the overtime period had gone by. Steve Duchesne shot on net from his defensive position, and the puck bounced off one of Skudra’s leg pads, straight to the stick of Draper. Into the net it went, and the Red Wings celebrated the seventh game of a home winning streak.
Shots on net, which were sixteen to six in favor of the Canucks at the end of the first period, were forty-eight to thirty in the Red Wings’ favor by the end of the game. The Red Wings will play one of their perennial conference rivals, the Dallas Stars, Saturday afternoon at the Joe.