I said in the second period that the Red Wings were getting killed by their mistakes. It was a trend on the night and a key factor in the loss. They gave away the puck, failed to clear their zone, and blew their defensive coverage. The power play was weak and the PK wasn’t fantastic. Despite scoring four goals, they probably didn’t deserve to win this one, so it shouldn’t be a surprise that they didn’t.
The biggest thing to me, though (and I feel like I’m going to get killed for saying this), was that Jimmy Howard didn’t make a “big” stop when it was needed.
Go back to when it was tied at four and Vancouver was on the power play. Drew Miller makes a great pass to Darren Helm on a two-on-one and Roberto Luongo makes the initial stop on Helm, then a save on the rebound chance. Two stops when his team needed them, when he had to cover for their mistakes.
Howard didn’t have a moment like that. In the second period when Manny Malhotra broke in all alone shorthanded after a rare giveaway by Pavel Datsyuk, Malhotra scored to put the Canucks up 4-3. Howard didn’t come up with the save.
I’m not putting this all on Howard, I listed off plenty of things the team did wrong to make this loss happen, but I do think the lack of the big save was the difference tonight. It shouldn’t have to be, that’s where the rest of the team comes in. You don’t always need a stop like that from your goalie but tonight Luongo provided that and Howard didn’t.