DETROIT -- After 40 minutes of play, it appeared the Red Wings were in a solid position to end their four-game losing skid.
The Wings entered the third period with a 2-0 lead over the Vancouver Canucks, but back-to-back penalties, one late in the second period (with one second left on the clock) and the other early in the third period, gave the Canucks new life, propelling them to score five unanswered goals en route to a 5-2 victory over Detroit Tuesday night at Little Caesars Arena.
It was the Red Wings' fifth consecutive defeat and the first time since they suffered an 11-6 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers on February 23, 1988 that the Wings lost by three-plus goals when holding a two-goal lead after two periods of play.
Entering the game, the Wings' penalty kill was 25th overall in the NHL at a success rate of 72 percent; however, they were perfect at home, killing all eight penalties in their first three games.
But they surrendered two power-play goals in a span of 1:21 early in the third period, which tied the game and swung momentum clearly Vancouver's way.
If there is a bit of solace for the Wings, it's their power play ended an 0-for-8 drought by scoring two power-play goals.
Anthony Mantha (5-on-3 power play) and Dennis Cholowski (4-on-3 power play) scored for the Wings, while Canucks captain Bo Horvat notched a hat trick (two power-play goals and one empty-netter), with Jake Virtanen and Tim Schaller picking up the other tallies for Vancouver.
Jimmy Howard (1-4-0) took the loss for the Red Wings, but once again kept his team in the game, stopping 36 of the 40 shots fired by the Canucks for a .900 save percentage.
Jacob Markstrom (4-2-0) was solid in the Canucks' net, making several key stops, which kept his team within striking distance when the Wings were up by two. Markstrom's .939 save percentage earned him third star of the game honors as he stopped 31 of the 33 shots he faced.
Up next for the Red Wings (3-6-0) is the second of back-to-back games as they hit the road to take on the Senators Wednesday night in Ottawa. Jonathan Bernier is expected to get the start in goal.
Vancouver (6-3-0) will wait until Friday to hit the ice again as they host the Washington Capitals at Rogers Arena.
1. Anthony Mantha: Mantha's goal is always to have at least five shots on net each game. Against the Canucks, the big power forward registered nine shots. At 16:08 of the first period, he gave the Wings a 1-0 lead when he connected on a blast, with Filip Hronek and Tyler Bertuzzi drawing the assists. It was Mantha's team-leading seventh goal of the season and his third power-play marker. Mantha's seven goals in October are the most any Red Wings player has scored in the first month of the season since Gustav Nyquist had seven in October 2014. He finished the game with a goal, was minus-2 in 19:47 of ice time. In nine games, Mantha leads the Wings in scoring with seven goals, four assists and is plus-2 with two game-winning goals.
Quotable: "We need more (power-play goals). I think when that power play we had late in the third, that was our chance. That's when a big power play comes out, comes over the boards and scores. We didn't have that. We did get a couple, 5-on-3, but we still need to be better 5-on-4 and getting into the zone easier. I think we played the right way in the first two periods and then it was a special teams match and they were on top. It's a game where there were a lot of penalties, a lot of penalty kill, it's hard to fall asleep and get away from your game at 5-on-5. But those two power-play goals by Vancouver killed us." - Dylan Larkin
Quotable II: "We carried the play for two periods, we were the better team, certainly had more chances. We were on the power play, had a chance to score, took a penalty with a second left. So now you come in, you're short-handed, did a pretty good job on the kill, they scored at the end and scored again on the next penalty kill. All of a sudden, the game starts to turn and now it's an even game. I thought Larks' line had a couple of good shifts in there, but then they scored again. The more you get scored on and don't score, the momentum goes away from you and that's what happened." - Wings coach Jeff Blashill
2. Filip Hronek/Dennis Cholowski: In a game where the Red Wings lost momentum quickly, Hronek was a stabilizing force on the blue line. When Danny DeKeyser couldn't finish the game, Hronek stepped up and led the Wings in ice time, logging 24:24. He assisted on Mantha's power-play goal and played his typical pesky game. Cholowski missed the Red Wings' last game Friday in Edmonton after falling awkwardly late in the third period against Calgary last Thursday. He returned on Tuesday against his hometown Canucks and notched his first goal of the season on the power play at 9:19 of the second period. Cholowski's total ice time was 19:35, but his 5:35 of ice time on the power play led all Detroit defensemen.
Quotable: "We've been dangerous sometimes (on the power play) but we haven't been scoring, so tonight was good for us for sure. I got the puck and the seas kind of parted. Nobody came to me, so I figured I'd walk in and shoot it. One of the biggest things is we've got to score more goals. We had a couple tonight. And obviously, keep the puck out of our net. If we're going to be a good team, we have to keep it out of our net and then create those chances off of turnovers and counter attacks. - Cholowski
Quotable II: "I think Fil's going to be a real good player and he's learning on the job with lots of ice time. He's certainly not been perfect but I think he's going to be a real good player in this league. He's got to keep getting better." - Blashill
3. Jonathan Ericsson: Earlier on Tuesday, the Red Wings placed veteran defenseman Jonathan Ericsson on waivers. Teams will have until noon on Wednesday to claim Ericsson and if he's not claimed, it appears he will report to Grand Rapids and become a member of the Griffins' blue line. Ericsson has been dealing with a myriad of injuries and has not played for the Red Wings this season. Ericsson's last game with the Red Wings was on March 28 in Buffalo. In 662 games with Detroit, Ericsson has 27 goals, 98 assists, is minus-9 and has accumulated 531 penalty minutes, with an ice time average of 18:45 per game.
Quotable: "I talked to Jon after Steve (Yzerman) talked to Jon. My message to Jon was depending on what happens with waivers, which is something you never know, go down and play great hockey. And he told me that's his plan. He just hasn't played in a long time. Right now, I didn't have him in the lineup. If you don't have him in the lineup, he's got to play. In order to get his game back, he's got to play. He hasn't played since March. Now he gets to play hockey, and hopefully play great hockey. He'd be super happy if he went down there and played great. Then he's able to get back in the lineup at some point. But right now, it's go down and play great hockey." - Blashill