The good news for the Detroit Red Wings
was that they rallied from a two-goal deficit to beat the Vancouver Canucks
5-4 on Tuesday night for their first road win of the season. The better news was that Pavel Datsyuk
seems to have regained his scoring touch.
Jason Williams got the game-winner with 5:03 remaining at GM Place, but Datsyuk scored his first two goals of the season in a span of 3:26 in the third period. He tied the game 3-3 at 6:05, then beat Roberto Luongo
with a power-play wrister from the top of the left circle at 9:31.
Datsyuk, who also had an assist, had not scored in his first seven games after scoring a career-high 32 last season.
"He's such a talented player," Williams said of Datsyuk. "You can't keep him off the scoresheet forever."
The line of Datsyuk, Henrik Zetterberg
and Tomas Holmstrom
accounted for three goals and was dominant all night long, which let a struggling Chris Osgood off the hook.
"Your best players have to be your best players," Wings coach Mike Babcock said. "Z and Pav have to be upper-echelon guys for us. That means they have to generate offense and score, so that was great to see it happen tonight."
After Vancouver's Henrik Sedin
tied the game with his second of the night at 12:03, Williams put the Wings ahead with a power-play goal when he raced down from the left point and dunked Valtteri Filppula
's cross-crease pass behind Luongo.
"Fil made a great pass to get the puck through to me," Williams said.
It was the sixth and final goal of a wild third period that saw the Wings score four times. They controlled play for most of the night and outshot Vancouver 42-26.
"I thought we did a lot of things right," Babcock said. "We had a real tough start, but we were able to overcome it. We were able to battle back, pick up Ozzie and get the win. We just stuck with it."
The victory was a welcome tonic for the Wings, who had lost their last three and dropped games at Phoenix and Colorado to open a five-game road trip.
The Canucks lost for only the second time in seven home games this season. They also lost forward Ryan Johnson, who was taken off the ice on a stretcher after crashing into the end boards early in the second period. He was taken to the hospital, but a spokesperson said he was alert and had full movement.
"You hate to see a friend and teammate go down like that -- it puts things in perspective," Canucks forward Ryan Kesler
said. "I'm just glad he's going to be all right."
The outcome was a disappointment for the Canucks, who had won their last five home games but paid the price for sloppy play and too many penalties.
"We let in five goals," Kesler said, "and 90 percent of the time, you're not going to win in this League."
Vancouver wasted no time jumping in front, as Sedin beat Osgood 30 seconds into the game for a 1-0 lead. Sedin came down the slot, picked up a rebound off the end glass and slid the puck through Osgood's legs.
Detroit had a great chance to tie the game less than three minutes in, only to have Luongo go from left to right to rob ex-Canuck Todd Bertuzzi
with his pad at the post.
Vancouver doubled its lead at 7:05 when defenseman Christian Ehrhoff's bad-angled shot from below the left dot somehow found its way through Osgood's legs. Wings coach Mike Babcock then lifted Osgood, who had stopped just two of four shots, and replaced him with Jimmy Howard
"I thought Howie did a good job," Babcock said. "Ozzie just has to get straightened out, and he'll be right back in there."
Babcock also said Howard would start Thursday's game at Edmonton.
Luongo again came up big midway through the period, first stopping Zetterberg on a clear breakaway, then got a break when Zetterberg's deflection of Nicklas Lidstrom
's shot from the inside of the left circle pinged the post.
But the Wings finally solved Luongo at 15:47 when Tomas Holmstrom
scored at the end of a perfect tic-tac-toe passing play. Datsyuk picked up the puck in the right circle and fed Zetterberg, whose quick pass left Holmstrom all alone for a backhander into a half-empty net.
That was the only goal to beat Luongo among Detroit's 13 first-period shots. Vancouver had eight.
Howard kept the margin at 2-1 midway through the second period when he made a spectacular save on a deflection by Mason Raymond
. It was the best stop of the middle 20 minutes, when Detroit outshot Vancouver 15-8.
Holmstrom was involved again when the Wings tied it 3:51 into the third. He was parked right outside Luongo's crease as Niklas Kronwall
's bad-angled shot from the lower right circle zipped past the goaltender and into the net.
Vancouver regained the lead at 5:05 when Mathieu Schneider blasted a power-play slapper from the top of the left circle past Howard, who may have been screened as defenseman Brad Stuart
cut in front of him. But the lead lasted just 60 seconds; Datsyuk got his first of the season when he raced down the right side, spun Ehrhoff around as he cut inside the right circle, then took a shot off the heel of his stick that appeared to fool Luongo.
Datsyuk put the Wings ahead for the first time when his shot from the top of the left circle deflected off Alexander Edler
's stick and into the net. But the Wings got into penalty trouble shortly after that, and Sedin tied it at 12:03 when he took Edler's diagonal pass from the top of the left circle and beat Howard from the bottom of the right circle during a 5-on-3 power play.
-- John Kreiser, NHL.com