Luongo struggles; Canucks lose 5-4 in Overtime to Red Wings
It was a seesaw battle between two Western Conference powerhouses, and at the end of the day, the Red Wings skated away victorious winning 5-4 in overtime.
It was a costly win for the Wings, however, as Pavel Datsyuk was injured. It is speculated that he could be out 4-5 weeks with a broken hand or wrist. For now, let's get back to the game.
It was an entertaining contest that saw lead changes, big hits and pretty goals. The Red Wings got the party started when former Canuck Todd Bertuzzi feathered a beautiful pass to Dan Cleary on a 2 on 1 break. Cleary waited, then snapped a perfect shot over Roberto Luongo's shoulder.
Luongo had 40 saves in the game, and made some spectacular stops. However, it was the routine, should have stopped them shots that gave him some trouble; but more on that later.
The Canucks drew even in the second period while on the powerplay. Daniel Sedin took a shot that landed on Ryan Kesler's stick. Kesler, the hottest Canuck in the last 10 or so games, gave a no look backhand pass to Henrik Sedin, who put the puck past Detroit Goaltender Jimmy Howard and in the back of the net. It was Henrik Sedin's 7th goal of the season.
Just over five minutes later, Valtteri Filppula received an early Christmas present, as a Roberto Luongo rebound was completely gift wrapped to him in front of the net. He simply whacked the puck past Luongo to give Detroit the 2-1 edge.
Another five minutes later, and it was the Canucks turn again to light the lamp. On an almost identical play to the first Canucks goal, Ryan Kesler, on the powerplay, received a shot from Christian Ehrhoff on his stick, then feathered a no look back pass to the other Sedin Brother, Daniel, for his 17th of the year.
The Canucks then had all the momentum, and capped off the goal filled period with a shot from Mikael Samuelsson that eluded Jimmy Howard, with just over 20 seconds left. With Raffi Torres screening Howard in front, he may not have even seen the shot. Whatever the reason, it was 3-2 Canucks.
All momentum the Canucks had carried over to the third period, as they began strong, getting chance after chance on the Detroit tender. Howard weathered the storm and turned the Canucks away.
Then, Luongo let a bad goal in; actually thats an understatement. It was a terrible, awful, unforgivable goal from Henrik Zetterberg. A shot from an impossibly sharp angle hit Luongo in the blocker and went under his arm. It evened the game up, and all momentum the Canucks had was gone.
Late in the third, Ryan Kesler kept his hot streak going by feeding Jeff Tambellini the puck. Tambellini then let go a laser beam that went over Howards shoulder, hit the post and went in. It was a goal that sucked the air out of Joe Louis arena, and seemed to give the Canucks a 4-3 lead, and a probable win.
However, Nik Lidstrom came to the rescue when, on the powerplay, he got a rebound from Luongo and deposited the puck into a wide open net. Just like that, it was 4-4.
In overtime, Luongo crumbled under pressure. After Christian Ehrhoff gave up the puck, Henrik Zetterberg let go a seemingly routine shot. It went underneath Luongo's arm, short side, and into the net.
It was a pathetic goal, one that a 10 million dollar goalie should be able to stop with his eyes closed, but I'll save that rant for another day.
In the end, the Canucks let a lead dissipate in the final minutes at Joe Louis Arena, and let a good win streak die in the process. The quest to start a new one begins tomorrow in Columbus.
Notes: Ryan Kesler had three assists to give him six goals and five assists in his last seven games.. Daniel and Henrik Sedin each had a goal... Jeff Tambellini has scored in back to back games