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Game 57: Motown letdown

by Daniel Fung / Vancouver Canucks
The return of head coach John Tortorella and team captain Henrik Sedin should have provided a spark for the slumping Canucks. It clearly did not have its intended effect on Monday.

On a night the Canucks welcomed back two of their emotional leaders, they still managed to turn in one of their more lackluster performances of the season dropping a 2-0 decision to the Detroit Red Wings at the Joe Louis Arena.

Justin Abdelkader scored twice, including the eventual-game winner just 68 seconds into the second period, to hand the Canucks their fifth loss in their last six outings.

The loss also dropped the Canucks' record on their current five-game road trip to 0-2-0.

After a scoreless and largely uneventful opening period, Abdelkader would open the scoring early in the middle frame on a harmless looking wrist shot from the top of the left faceoff circle that managed to sneak past several bodies in front of Eddie Lack to beat the Canucks' netminder high blocker side.

The Canucks had a chance to pull even not long after Abdelkader's marker when David Booth was awarded a penalty shot but his attempt was turned aside by Red Wings goaltender Jimmy Howard, who entered the game at the start of the second period replacing starter Jonas Gustavsson who left the game due to dizziness.

The best proof the Canucks just didn't have much jump at all in this contest came in the third period when they were out-shot 10-3 despite being the team that was pushing for the equalizer. In fact, the Canucks did not even manage to record their first shot of the period until there was 5:36 left in the frame.

The only reason the Canucks were within striking distance of tying this game was thanks to the efforts of Lack, who made 28 saves on 29 shots on the night including making three spectacular stops off Darren Helm late in regulation.

Abdelkader would add his second of the night into an empty net with just 16 seconds remaining in regulation.

Gustavsson and Howard combined to stop all 24 shots the Canucks managed to share the shutout.

The Canucks continue their five-game road trip tomorrow night in Boston.

Newly acquired defenceman Raphael Diaz was not in the lineup on Monday but is expected to dress on Tuesday in Boston... Popular ex-Canuck Todd Bertuzzi sat out his sixth straight game as a healthy scratch for Detroit... Monday marked the third time this season the Canucks have been shutout... Eddie Lack has lost five games in a row despite only surrendering a single goal in three of those five outings.

REVERSAL OF FORTUNE: David Booth's penalty shot attempt for the fifth for the Canucks in a game against the Red Wings all-time. Vancouver scored on their first three penalty shot attempts versus Detroit but have been stymied on their last two attempts. Jannik Hansen was the last Canuck to attempt a penalty shot against the Red Wings last season back on March 16, 2013 but, like Booth, he was turned aside by Jimmy Howard.

NO REGULAR JOE: Viewers tuning in to Sportsnet to watch Monday's game were not greeted with the familiar dulcet tones of John Shorthouse. Per Sportsnet's Dan Murphy, travel issues prevented Shorthouse from being able to fulfill his regular duties paving the way for's own Joey Kenward to join John Garrett in the booth. Kenward, the former voice of the WHL's Vancouver Giants, is no stranger to calling Canucks games filling in on a number of occasions over the years on the radio side with The Team 1040.

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