Canucks erupt for five third-period goals, hand Red Wings fifth straight loss
Detroit — When things aren't going well, they have a tendency to build and go completely wrong.
That's what happened Tuesday to the Red Wings, who saw their losing streak reach five games in gut-wrenching, stunning, but perhaps predictable fashion given how the last five games have gone.
Vancouver scored five goals in the third period, erasing a two-goal Wings lead, and defeated the Red Wings 5-2.
Bo Horvat opened the third period with two power-play goals, and Jake Virtanen and Tim Schaller added Canucks goals before Horvat completed the third-period hat trick with an empty-net goal.
Anthony Mantha and Dennis Cholowski had Red Wings power-play goals — yes, you read that right, the Wings actually scored power play goals — but it turned out to be not enough.
“We carried the play for two periods, we were the better team, certainly had more chances,” Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill said. “Then, once you get scored on and you don’t score and the momentum gets away from you, and that’s what happened.”
The Wings fell to 3-6-0, while Vancouver continued its early-season blitz with the opposite record, 6-3-0.
The Wings had a brutal beginning to the third period, allowing the two Vancouver power-play goals.
With Tyler Bertuzzi in the box for tripping in the final second of the second period, Vancouver opened its scoring with Horvat putting in a loose puck at the edge of the crease off Quinn Hughes' shot from the top of the slot.
Having given Vancouver a sliver of momentum, the Wings left the door wide open for Vancouver when Cholowski went to the box for high sticking at 1:49.
It didn't take long for the Canucks to duplicate their success, with Horvat redirecting a shot from Hughes, Horvat's fourth goal, tying the score at 2-2.
“We have to stay out of the box and be a little more disciplined,” said Dylan Larkin, noting the Wings gave Vancouver five power play opportunities (the Canucks converted two for goals).
Virtanen then made it 3-2 at 12:19 of the period, passing the puck out front where it bounced off Filip Hronek's skate and past goaltender Jimmy Howard.
Schaller made it 4-2 at 14:21, snapping a shot from the dot, before Horvat closed out the scoring with an empty-net goal.
“So much comes down to when you give up as many goals as we’ve given up (22 goals allowed over the five losses, while scoring 7), and enough of it has been on the penalty kill, it crushes you,” Blashill said. “When you’re getting scored on as many times as we’re getting scored on, it’s hard to keep digging, and we don’t score easy.
“We have to find a way, whether it’s to get more scoring, or two, we have to do a better job of giving up less goals.”
The power play hasn’t been kind to the Red Wings this season, and was particularly brutal during last week’s winless road trip.
But that's how the Wings got on the scoreboard Tuesday, with Mantha (seventh goal) and Cholowski (first goal) getting power-play goals. The Wings only have four of them this season and Mantha has three of those.
Playing in Ottawa Wednesday, the Wings might be without defenseman Danny DeKeyser, who didn’t finish the game because of an undisclosed injury.
Blashill wasn’t sure of DeKeyser’s availability after Tuesday’s loss.
Ottawa is coming into the game 1-6-1, and the Wings desperately need a win.
“We’re playing a team in a building we’ve had success in the last couple of years,” Larkin said. “We need two points in the worst way and that’s our focus right now. We’ll battle hard tomorrow, we need those two points.”
The Wings placed defenseman Jonathan Ericsson on waivers early Tuesday, and the veteran defenseman appears headed to Grand Rapids if he isn’t claimed by another team by noon Wednesday.
Blashill and general manager Steve Yzerman talked to Ericsson earlier in the day and stressed the need for Ericsson to play some games.
Ericsson hasn’t been in a game since March, when he injured his back and hip.
“My message to Jon is depending on what happens with waivers, which is something you don’t know what’ll happen, go down (to Grand Rapids) and play great hockey,” Blashill said. “He told me that’s his plan. He just hasn’t played in a long time right now.
“I didn’t have him in the lineup, so if you don’t have him in the lineup and he has to play in order to get his game back, he hasn’t played since March. Now he gets to go down and play hockey, and hopefully play great hockey, and he’d be super happy and we’d be happy if he went down and played great and then he’s able to get back in the lineup at some point. But right now, it’s go down and play great hockey.”