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Kesler and Luongo lead Canucks over Wings

by John Kreiser

Ryan Kesler and Roberto Luongo were on opposite sides in Sunday's Olympic gold medal game. Unfortunately for the Detroit Red Wings, both were wearing Vancouver Canucks uniforms on Wednesday.

Kesler, from nearby Livonia, Mich., scored twice and Luongo made 28 saves as the Canucks rolled over the Wings 6-3 before a stunned crowd at Joe Louis Arena.

It was an enjoyable night for Kesler, who scored Sunday against his Vancouver teammate in Canada's 3-2 overtime win.

"It was special. I always cherish playing in front of friends and family," said Kesler, who won a silver medal for the United States.

Luongo played for the first time since making 34 saves in Canada's gold medal-winning victory. He got the night off Tuesday in Vancouver's 4-3 overtime win at Columbus.

"I felt great coming in," Luongo said. "I had a great practice yesterday."

Luongo feels Kesler's Olympic success will help him the rest of the way.

"He's got a little bit of fire up his bum," he said. "He played really well -- even last night he played really well. We've got a lot of good players on this team, and when we play as a team we have good success."

Henrik Sedin said his team has come out of the gate quickly after the break.

"Both yesterday and today we played good, we had a lot of jump, all four lines, and our Ds have been good, so I don't see any rust coming off the break here," he said.

The Canucks also got goals by Alex Burrows, Kyle Wellwood, Sami Salo and Mikael Samuelsson. Henrik and Daniel Sedin each had three assists as the Canucks improved to 6-4-0 after 10 games of their NHL-record 14-game road trip. They have a day off on Thursday before playing at Chicago on Friday.

Jason Williams, Henrik Zetterberg and Johan Franzen scored for Detroit. Jimmy Howard made 17 saves before being pulled in favor of Chris Osgood midway through the second period. Osgood stopped 10 shots.

It was not the kind of homecoming Wings coach Mike Babcock -- who led Canada to the gold in Vancouver -- had in mind.

"We were poor. We were poor in goal. We were poor in the back end. We were poor up front. We were poor in the work ethic department," Babcock said. "The bottom line was we didn't look like a team that was dying to be in the playoffs tonight in anyway or shape of form."

Wellwood broke a 2-2 tie 7:11 into the second period when he scored on a breakaway, beating Howard high on the glove side after taking a long pass from Aaron Rome.

"I just got the puck, turned and headed to the net as fast as possible," Wellwood said. "And there were no Wings around."

Salo's power-play goal at 11:33, a screened wrister from the left point, made it 4-2 and sent Howard to the bench. But Samuelsson scored his 22nd of the season at 17:50, and Kesler got his second of the night, a power-play goal 6:35 into the third.

Franzen scored on a power play with 4:47 left.

Zetterberg tied it at 2-2 just 1:47 into the second period with his 17th goal of the season and the 200th of his career. That was one of the Wings' few highlights.

"We gave the puck away way too much," he said. "I don't think it was effort. It was just too many mistakes."

Kesler opened the scoring 3:34 into the game, and Williams tied it with 5:50 left in the period. Burrows restored Vancouver's lead just 1:30 later when he deflected Daniel Sedin's pass out of the air and over Howard's shoulder for his 28th of the season.

Both team's medal winners from the Vancouver Olympics were recognized before the game. Salo and Detroit's Valtteri Filppula won bronze medals with Finland, Kesler and the Red Wings' Brian Rafalski won silver medals with the United States, and Luongo, Babcock, Wings vice president Steve Yzerman (Canada's managing director) and general manager Ken Holland (Canada's associate director) were honored for Canada's victory in the gold-medal game.

Material from team media and wire services was used in this report

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