The Detroit Red Wings’ offense never really clicked and defensive lapses helped the Vancouver Canucks pick up a 3-0 lead in both teams’ season opener Thursday night.
Detroit came out flat to start the game, which began after a brief ceremony in which defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom was named captain of the team, taking over for the retired Steve Yzerman.
The Red Wings couldn’t take advantage of the parade of Canucks to the penalty box that started early in the first period and Vancouver got on the board first.
With just 4.5 seconds remaining in the first period, defenseman Sami Salo fired a shot from the point that deflected off of Kris Draper and Markus Naslund before getting past Detroit goalie Dominik Hasek for a power play goal.
At 2:25 of the second period the Canucks extended their lead after a giveaway by Andreas Lilja gave Josh Green the puck all alone in the slot. Hasek stopped his initial shot but Trevor Linden was there to knock the rebound between Hasek’s pads.
Only 2:16 later, the Vancouver lead became three goals when Salo skated into the slot untouched on a Canucks power play and wristed a shot off of Hasek’s blocker and in.
With 4:05 remaining in the period, Henrik Zetterberg threw a shot on net from the left hash marks and the puck managed to get through Vancouver netminder Roberto Luongo, putting the Wings on the board.
Detroit was unable to score in the third period, despite a short 6-on-4 in the final minute of the game. The team did show some life after their slow start but it was too little, too late.
The Red Wings finished the night scoreless on nine power play chances, while Vancouver made good on two of their four tries.
Hasek made only 14 saves on 17 shots in the first game of his third stint with Detroit. Luongo’s first game as a Canuck saw him make 27 saves on 28 Detroit shots.
The Red Wings will be back in action on Saturday when they visit the Pittsburgh Penguins.
With Nicklas Lidstrom becoming the team’s captain, Henrik Zetterberg and Kris Draper were named Detroit’s alternate captains.