Thriller in Motown: Canucks edge Red Wings 2-1.
The Vancouver Canucks, missing key members of their hockey club, still eeked out a 2-1 victory over the Detroit Red Wings.
The Red Wings for their part, were missing many key players as well. Bertuzzi, Franzen and Datsyuk all had to miss the game with injuries, yet the game still lived up to it's billing; an entertaining, nail biter.
The Canucks pulled ten points ahead of Detroit for 1st place in the Western Conference and are still in first place overall. Here's how the game shook down:
In the first period. both teams started slowly, feeling each other out. Then, Detroit turned up the pressure. They were stymied each and every time, however, by Roberto Luongo who was absolutely sensational in this game. He made save after unbelievable save, turning away the Red Wings players at every chance they got. Though the Canuck were outplayed and outshot 11-5 in that first period, Luongo kept the game notted at 0-0. He finished the game with 39 saves.
In the second, the Canucks were the ones dominating. Their impressive play led to Daniel Sedin's 39th goal of the year, and a flukey one at that. While trying to center the pass, Daniel banked it in off a Detroit defenceman and past netminder Jimmy Howard. The Canucks completely dominated the second, outshooting Detroit an astounding 20-12.
In the third, Luongo once again stood on his head. Then, on the powerplay, Daniel Sedin notched his 40th goal of the campaign, after taking a slapshot that beat a sprawling Howard. It is the first time in his career that Daniel Sedin has reached 40 goals. His second of the game proved to be the game winner, as the Canucks withstood a late goal by Jiri Hudler, and a flurry of opportunities in the dying seconds, and held on to win 2-1.
The win meant a few things.
Number one, Daniel Sedin now has got to be the frontrunner for the Hart trophy as he sits seven points up on second place Henrik Sedin, and nine points up on third place Steven Stamkos. Not only that, he has 40 goals, second only to Cory Perry (also 40), and Stamkos (43.)
Secondly, the Canucks are now all but assured top spot in the West, as they now have a ten point gap with eight games remaining.
Lastly, the Canucks can win close games, and kill penalties, without Manny Malhotra. Maxim Lapierre took his spot on the third line, and while he wasn't dominant, he did just enough and was solid.
Notes: Kevin Bieksa returned from injury and played 23 minutes of ice time while being a plus 1... No brothers have ever finished an NHL season 1-2 in scoring...Ryan Kesler has seven assists versus the Red Wings this season.