VANCOUVER – The Vancouver Canucks couldn’t ride the momentum of a franchise record early goal Saturday by Alex Burrows, or their throwback Vancouver Millionaire uniforms, and fell 5-2 to the Detroit Red Wings at Rogers Arena.
The Canucks were honouring 100 years of hockey in B.C. and looked like a million bucks on their first shift. Sadly for them, that was all the offence they could muster on Red Wings netminder Jimmy Howard until the game was far beyond reach.
Coach Alain Vigneault’s skaters were unable to take advantage of a Detroit team that had played the night before in Edmonton, nor did they have an answer for the wizardry of Red Wing centre Pavel Datsyuk, who set up the three Detroit goals and gave the Canuck defence fits all evening.
“Personal stuff doesn’t mean anything to me right now,” said Burrows, who scored both Vancouver goals. “I just want to make sure we win games. Tonight we did a lot of good things early but, for some reason, we lost the momentum, they were able to capitalize on their chances and we weren’t able to come back.”
The loss ended Vancouver’s modest two-game winning streak and dropped the Canucks out of the Northwest Division lead (on tie-breakers) as the surging Minnesota Wild won again Saturday, 6-4 over Colorado. Both Vancouver and Minnesota have 32 points but the Wild, who visit Rogers Arena on Monday, have more regulation and overtime victories.
The Red Wings have outscored the Canucks 13-5 in their two meetings this season and Roberto Luongo has surrendered all 13 goals. Bet on Cory Schneider starting Monday against the Wild.
Burrows ended his 11-game goal drought in style, scoring at 0:06 of the opening period, a franchise record. The previous fastest Canuck goal to start a game was Trevor Linden at 0:09 on Jan. 16, 1994. It was also one second off the NHL record of 0:05.
It was all Wings after the opening seconds. Datsyuk bounced one off the skate of linemate Justin Adbelkader in the first and then fed Henrik Zetterberg for the go-ahead goal on a second-period power play.
Zetterberg and Dan Cleary put it away early in the third, both finishing off odd-man rushes in which they were able to beat Luongo cleanly. Abdelkader added his second with 5:16 remaining and the sellout crowd at Rogers Arena began leaving in droves. Burrows netted Vancouver’s second goal with 2:38 remaining.
Luongo was not pleased with his own performance and accepted responsibility. He was especially unhappy with Zetterberg’s third-period goal, which came at the 1:20 mark.
“It was a bit of a back-breaker, a goal like that right off the hop,” Luongo said. “I kind of fanned on it and it kind of knuckled away from me but I have to get a piece of that, for sure. Things kind of fell apart in the third period and I have to put myself in the forefront of that. I have to able to make some big saves to keep it a one-goal game.”
The Canucks’ power play was abysmal again and went 0-for-6 despite a two-man advantage in the third period for 1:21. The power play drought now stands at 34 straight.
“It’s not working and that would be an understatement,” Vigneault said. “And those are our top players. Their top players were obviously a little better than ours.”
Canuck winger Jannik Hansen had a chance to pull Vancouver even 2-2 at the 15:17 mark of the middle period when he was chopped down by Abdelkader while breaking in cold on Howard. Hansen was awarded a penalty shot, gave Howard his best shimmy and shake and then hit the post.
The Canucks also lost left winger David Booth late in the first period with what appears to be a serious left ankle injury. Booth crumpled to the ice in the last minute of the period in the offensive zone and could not put any weight on the ankle as he headed off the ice.
He was later seen in a walking boot following the game and, according to Vigneault, will have an MRI on Monday.
“I expect Booth is going to be out for a while so we’re going to have to call somebody up,” Vigneault said.
With right winger Zack Kassian out day-to-day with a sore back, the Canucks have just 11 healthy forwards.
ICE CHIPS: The Canucks were again destroyed in the faceoff circle, winning just 24 of 60 draws. Datsyuk was 15-for-24 to lead Detroit. Chris Higgins was 5-for-14, Andrew Ebbett 4-for-11 and Henrik Sedin 12-for-25…The Canucks outshot the Wings 35-26, including 16-6 in the first period.