Detroit — The end result was probably fitting Friday for the Red Wings.
They did just enough to earn a point in the standings, but ultimately they deserved the 4-3 shootout loss to the Vancouver Canucks. The Canucks won the shootout 2-1.
Henrik Zetterberg salvaged a tie for the Red Wings with his sixth goal at 18:53 of the third period, making the score 3-3.
But after an entertaining — though scoreless — overtime, Vancouver’s Linden Vey scored in the seventh round of the shootout against Jimmy Howard, giving the Canucks the victory.
Vancouver goalie Ryan Miller (East Lansing/Michigan State) stopped six of seven Red Wings in the shootout.
The Canucks outshot the Red Wings 40-28 and outplayed the listless Red Wings the majority of the game.
“My job is to make sure we’re prepared to go at the start of the game — I didn’t do my job,” coach Jeff Blashill said. “That was, I thought, our worst game of, maybe all season. My job is to make sure the team is ready to go and prepared to go and we weren’t, so that falls on me.”
The start was especially brutal for the Red Wings, who were outshot 17-5 in the first period and 27-10 through 40 minutes.
The Red Wings power play was an ineffective 0-for-3.
The lone bright spot was a penalty kill that killed a Vancouver 5-on-3 power play for 23 seconds and kept the Canucks off the scoreboard late in the third period, keeping it a one-goal Canucks lead.
“When you’re not ready to play, it’s extraordinarily hard to kick it in gear and it takes a long time to get yourself going,” Blashill said. “That’s what happens when you’re not ready to play. We have to be way better from the drop of the puck.
“Tonight was unacceptable.”
Pavel Datsyuk tied the score at 2 early in the third period but Vancover’s Radim Vrbata answered shortly after, restoring the Canucks lead.
Vrbata gathered a rebound, cruised through the front of the net, and placed a backhand past goalie Jimmy Howard, Vrbata’s 10th goal, at 5:33.
“I’ll take the blame for that one,” Howard said. “I should have put the rebound in a better spot. Instead I put the rebound right on Vrbata’s stick.”
That took much of the steam out of a two-goal Red Wings rally.
Datsyuk tied it at 2 with his third goal — ending a 9-game goal-scoring drought — shooting into an empty net after a slick pass from Brendan Smith.
Joakim Andersson scored the other Red Wings goal, while Jared McCann and Sven Baertschi added Canucks goals.
Andersson’s goal, his first of the season, gave the Red Wings a huge lift in the closing moments of the second period.
“We knew we had to do something,” Andersson said. “We weren’t good enough. We needed that to go into the third (period).”
Datsyuk intercepted a clearing attempt near the blue line. Datsyuk passed to Danny DeKeyser, working his way down the boards, and DeKeyser fed Luke Glendening between the hash marks.
Glendening passed it back to DeKeyser, dropping to near the goal line. DeKeyser centered the puck in front, where Andersson redirected the puck through Miller at 18:53.
“That was a big goal,” Blashill said. “We started to come back a little at the second period. You don’t want to go (down) 3-0 when you don’t have your game. That was a big moment for sure.”
Howard kept the Red Wings within a goal in the first period with two outstanding saves on Bo Horvat (on a wraparound) and Alexandre Burrows (off a rebound).
McCann finally broke through against Howard late in the first period.
Horvat, skating through the middle of the ice, lifted a shot high off the end boards behind Howard.
The puck squirted past Howard and to McCann trailing on the play. McCann placed it upper corner over Howard’s right shoulder, his seventh goal, giving Vancouver a 1-0 lead.
The Canucks extended the lead shortly after the Red Wings’ second-period power play.
Horvat cut to the net and made a fine backhand pass to a driving Baertschi, who fired his third goal at 17:08.
“We started off slowly and they generated a lot of chances,” Howard said. “In that situation you go and make saves for the guys. I just wanted to make saves.”