Tomas Holmstrom, who scored twice for the Wings on Wednesday, made life miserable for the Canucks, especially for goalie Roberto Luongo.
DETROIT – After a long West Coast road trip, the Red Wings rewarded themselves with an impressive showing on Wednesday.
Despite the spectacular play of Vancouver’s star goalie Roberto Luongo, the Wings muscled their way to a 3-2 victory at Joe Louis Arena.
If it weren’t for Luongo’s efforts, the Wings easily could have poured on the offensive fireworks. The Wings (7-2-1) dominated from the opening face-off, and out-shot the Canucks by more than a 3-to-1 ratio.
“He’s a good goalie, we knew that going in,” Wings coach Mike Babcock said. “I thought we had a good plan against him and went after him hard.
“The guys were ready to play and we had some good speed, and then we had good traffic in front. Obviously, if we could have got one more we would have had more of a cushion, but it didn’t go that way. You know it’s going to be tight, that’s just the way life is.”
The Red Wings, who lead the Western Conference in scoring (35 goals), have scored at least three goals in all but one game this season.
Detroit’s top offensive line continued their hot streak, as did left wing Matt Ellis, who stretched his point streak to four straight games.
Ellis’ second goal of the season gave the Wings a 1-0 lead late in the first period. Mikael Samuelsson threw the puck toward the net, and after the puck hit a group of players in front of Luongo, it was picked-up by Ellis, who swept a backhander into an empty net when the Canucks’ goalie was taken out of the play by the scrum, including Tomas Kopecky, in front of the crease.
“I guess I kept it simple and the boys made it easy for me,” Ellis said. “Sammy made a nice play just getting the puck there and Koppy driving hard had something to do with it, because I just kind of turned and found the empty net.”
The Wings struck on their first man-advantage of the game when Tomas Holmstrom was credited with his sixth goal of the season. He gave the Wings a 2-0 lead early in the second period when he re-directed Brian Rafalski’s high blast from the right point.
Three minutes later, the Canucks trimmed their deficit in half when left wing Matt Cooke scored at 5:33. His wrist shot from between the circles hit off of Kris Draper’s stick and ricocheted into the top shelf behind Dominik Hasek, who stopped 13 of 15 Vancouver shots.
Detroit tested Luongo often, but the all-star goalie came up with several big saves to keep the game’s outcome close. He made 37 saves.
The Wings built a 3-1 lead when they capitalized on a turnover by Willie Mitchell behind the Canucks’ net. Holmstrom’s second goal of the game was the result of Pavel Datsyuk’s steal and tip pass to Zetterberg, who found a wide-open Holmstrom on the far side.
“I’m the luckiest guy in the NHL right now,” said Holmstrom, who is tied with Zetterberg for the team lead in goals with seven. The league-leader is points, Zetterberg has at last a point in all 10 games this season.
The Canucks (4-6-0), losers of four of their last five games, finished the scoring when the Sedin twins combined on a power play tally at 1:47 of the third. Daniel Sedin picked-up a loose puck 10-feet in front of Hasek, and roofed a chip-shot over the Wings’ goalie. Henrik Sedin and Lukas Krajicek assisted.
1 - 0 DET
2 - 0 DET
2 - 1 DET
3 - 1 DET
3 - 2 DET
Interference on goalkeeper