New uniforms, same power play problems for Canucks
While sporting the replica uniform, Vancouver Canucks' Henrik Sedin (left) back hands the puck at Detroit Red Wings' goalie Jimmy Howard during Saturday's game at Rogers Arena. (REUTERS)
The last time a Vancouver professional hockey team were known as the Millionaires, they suffered a 5-1 loss to Toronto in March of 1922. Saturday, the Canucks — who were wearing replica uniforms to celebrate that era of hockey in the city — didn't fare much better.
This time though, about a century later, it ended with a 5-2 loss to the Detroit Red Wings at Rogers Arena. And while the Canucks sported a different look with the maroon and white for the one night only, it was the same-old problems that cost them the game.
"It wasn't because they played great," captain Henrik Sedin said of the visiting Wings. "It was us having turnover after turnovers. It started with our line … that's where it turned around."
But the biggest fault for Vancouver continued to be their dismal power play, which has not scored on their past 34 opportunities — with the drought lasting 11 games now. They finished 0-for-six, including a five-on-three for 1:20 in the third period where they did not even register a shot.
"Obviously it's not working," coach Alain Vigneault said. "That would be an understatement. And those are our top players."
With that, the Canucks two-game win streak comes to an end as they suffer their seventh loss at home this year. The team also falls to seventh in the Western Conference after a win by division foes, the Minnesota Wild, earlier in the day. The Red Wings, who were playing back-to-back nights, showed no signs of road weary, scoring five times on 26 shots on Roberto Luongo.
The Canucks goalie made his post-game thoughts rather clear, using the word "disappointing" four times.
"We had a good first half of the game, we were taking it to them," he said. "Things kind of fell apart in the third period and I got to put myself in the forefront of that and make some big saves to keep it a one-goal game there."
While the night may have left the Canucks embarrassed, it certainly started out with plenty of enthusiasm.
Sporting the new jerseys — an interesting change from the typical blue and green — Vancouver led pretty much right off the bat. Alex Burrows scored on a two-on-one just six seconds into the tilt — beating the the previous franchise record of nine for the fastest opening goal set by Trevor Linden in 1994. It was also Burrows' first goal in 11 games, giving the forward his sixth of the year.
About six minutes later, the Red Wings tied it up with Pavel Datsyuk's centring pass hitting the skates of Justin Abdelkader and in. The visitors grabbed the lead in the second period as they scored just their third road power play goal of the season. Datsyuk found Henrik Zetterberg in front for the goal, which was just the winger's second goal in 22 games.
Vancouver had a chance to draw even before the middle frame was up but Jannik Hansen's penalty shot attempt hit the post.
Detroit added three more in the third period — a Zetterberg slapper, a Dan Cleary wrister, and a bounce off the chest of Abdelkader that sneaked just across the line — to pull away and pick up their 14th win of the season. Datsyuk also finished with three helpers.
"It's a bit of a backbreaker to let in a goal like that right off the hop," Luongo said of Zetterberg's second of the night. "He kind of fanned on the one-timer and knuckled away from me but I got to get a piece of that for sure."
Burrows added another late in regulation to pick up his first two-goal game of the season.
"Tonight we did a little good things early but for some reason, we lost the momentum and they were able to capitalize on their chances," Burrows said. "My penalty changed the momentum in the second.
"We got to forget about this one, learn from this one, and move on."
Jimmy Howard finished with 33 saves for the Wings to earn his 12th win of the year.
David Booth suffered a left ankle injury late in the first period and did not return to the game. Vigneault said afterwards that he will get an MRI on Monday. Zack Kassian, who did not dress, is also out day-to-day with a back injury.
The Canucks play back-to-back games at home Monday and Tuesday when they host the Minnesota Wild and St. Louis Blues.