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VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) - The Detroit Red Wings hung around just long enough to knock off the hottest team in the NHL.
Missing five regulars to injury and playing for a second straight day against the streaking Canucks, Detroit relied on great goaltending from Jimmy Howard to beat Vancouver 2-1 in a shootout on Saturday night.
Howard made 34 saves through overtime before stopping all three attempts in the shootout, and Jiri Hudler scored the only goal in the tiebreaker as Detroit snapped Vancouver's eight-game winning streak. Despite the loss, Vancouver remained atop the NHL standings with 60 points, one more than Detroit and three ahead of Eastern Conference-leading Philadelphia.
"Obviously, we got some good players missing," Detroit coach Mike Babcock said. "We just talked about if we could hang around, hang around, we'd have a chance at the end and that's what we tried to do. Just keep it close and keep it tight and we got good goaltending out of Howard."
Howard made a sensational glove stop on Daniel Sedin's breakaway four minutes in, another off Sedin's twin brother Henrik early in the third, and then stopped Daniel, Jeff Tambellini and Ryan Kesler in the shootout.
"Many times he made impossible saves," said Johan Franzen, who tied it for Detroit on a power-play breakaway 42 seconds into the third period. "We really need that right now."
Roberto Luongo made 32 saves before Hudler blasted a slap shot past his blocker on the first shootout attempt.
"It was a fun game to be a part of so I just would have let the boys play and settle it out old-school style," Luongo said. "But you know, shootouts sometimes you win, sometimes you lose."
The Canucks, who opened the scoring on Daniel Sedin's power play goal midway through the second period, haven't done much of that the last five weeks.
Vancouver hasn't lost in regulation in 16 games (13-0-3) - dating to Dec. 5. The Canucks are 17-1-3 in their last 21 games, but two of the losses come against the Red Wings, including a 5-4 overtime decision in Detroit on Dec. 22.
Things were a lot tighter Saturday between the NHL's top two scoring teams, in part because both clubs played Friday and because Detroit tightened up after losing top-pair defenseman Brad Stuart to a broken jaw in Calgary.
"They're a good team and they're on a roll right now and we're a real good team, too," Babcock said. "But they are deeper than we are right now, so if they got rolling tonight as far as the score, we were going to be in trouble."
Despite the defensive approach, there were plenty of great chances. Tambellini shot wide after the puck rolled off his backhand attempt on a breakaway with two minutes left in overtime, and Detroit's Niklas Kronwall had a goal waved off with 24.5 seconds remaining because Todd Bertuzzi bowled over Luongo.
"It was a playoff type of game," Tambellini said.
Chris Osgood was scheduled to start in goal but a nagging groin injury forced Howard to play again, and he made a spectacular save four minutes in.
Henrik Sedin's 180-foot pass bounced off the end boards to Daniel Sedin, who was streaking in alone behind the Detroit defense. His quick deke to the backhand left Howard on his backside, but the goalie reached back with his glove and picked the shot out of the air over the goal line. Video replay confirmed that a goal wasn't scored.
"I just didn't give up on it," Howard said. "I knew he had the whole net, and I just never took my off the puck or his stick. I was able to get a glove in it before it crossed the line."
NOTES: Detroit LW Henrik Zetterberg has five goals and nine assists during a 10-game point streak. ... Osgood will leave the team to have his injured groin examined by a specialist in Philadelphia. ... Stuart doesn't need surgery, but will be out 6-to-8 weeks. Rookie D Jakub Kindl took his place and played his third game in two months. ... The Red Wings also lost Valterri Filppula to a groin injury Tuesday, and are without forwards Pavel Datsyuk (hand), Dan Cleary (ankle) and Mike Modano (wrist). ... Vancouver's Alain Vigneault will coach at the NHL All-Star game because the Canucks lead the West at the season's midway point.
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