Red Wings’ home win streak stopped at 23
DETROIT — It had to end sometime, even the Detroit Red Wings knew that much.
But the way their NHL-record, 23-game home winning streak was snapped Thursday night was a little tough to take.
The Vancouver Canucks tied the score with 15.4 seconds remaining in regulation and then prevailed in a shootout for a 4-3 victory at Joe Louis Arena.
Daniel Sedin scored the tying goal on a wicked slap shot after the Canucks had pulled their goalie in the final minute.
Alex Burrows then put on the finishing touch in the shootout when he deked goalie Jimmy Howard and lifted a backhand under the crossbar.
“We talked about it before the game quickly, that logic would say sooner or later they’re going to lose one and we might as well be the team to beat them,” Vancouver coach Alain Vigneault said.
Red Wings coach Mike Babcock previously had avoided talking much about the record, but he took time to reflect on it after his team lost for only the fourth time in 30 games on home ice (26-2-2).
It had been more than three months since the Wings lost at Joe Louis. You had to go all the way back to Nov. 3, 2011, against Calgary.
“It’s beyond impressive,” Babcock said. “I don’t care what era. It’s just a real good run for our Red Wings. We’re thrilled to have done it. It set us up to get a good situation playoff-wise.
“Now we’ve got to get playing again at a high level. This team is only good if we’re really skating and crisp with the puck, and we weren’t tonight.”
The Canucks had been pointing to this game for a while, hoping they’d get a chance to end the streak, but even they showed appreciation for what the Wings had accomplished.
“It’s remarkable to win that many games in a row,” Burrows said. “It’s a pretty good team over there.”
This was a matchup of the Western Conference’s top two teams who easily could meet up again in about three months for a spot in the Stanley Cup Finals. They split the four-game season series. Each won in a shootout on the other team’s arena.
The Wings have 85 points with 20 games remaining, the Canucks 84 with 21 left.
The biggest difference between the two is on the road, where Vancouver improved to 21-10-2. Detroit has a 15-16-1 road record.
“There was huge emotion,” said defenseman Kyle Quincey, who scored a goal in his first game with the Wings since being acquired in a trade two days earlier. “It was a very big game. There’s a lot on the line. Next time we play them, for sure, there will be even more.”
The streak-breaker ruined the night for Quincey, not to mention the Wings’ third line of Darren Helm (one goal, two assists), Justin Abdelkader (one goal, one assist) and Drew Miller (one assist).
They all stood to be the heroes, along with Howard, who made 40 saves in his second game since returning from a broken finger.
Quincey, 26, played 54 games with Colorado this season. He was traded Tuesday to Tampa Bay, which then sent him on to Detroit for a first-round draft pick and a prospect.
Quincey originally had been drafted by the Wings, but the club had to put him on waivers in 2008 because of salary-cap issues.
About six minutes into the final period, Helm and Abdelkader did the dirty work to set up Quincey in the slot for a 2-1 lead.
Vancouver came back to tie it with a goal off the skate of Detroit defenseman Niklas Kronwall.
Twenty seconds later, though, Abdelkader scored what looked like it would be the game-winner with 6:14 remaining.
Sedin then silenced the sellout crowd of 20,066 with his last-seconds heroics.
“It’s disappointing to lose like that,” Abdelkader said.
The story was much different in the other dressing room.
“There were momentum shifts, there were great saves, there were quality chances, and we found a way to get it done,” Vigneault said. “It was a lot of fun.”
More than having the streak come to an end, Babcock was disappointed with how his team played, especially early in the game.
Vancouver outshot the Wings 17-5 in the first period even though Detroit had scored the only goal.
It was the Red Wings’ second game without star center Pavel Datsyuk, who is expected to miss a couple of weeks after arthroscopic knee surgery. They also lost 2-1 at Chicago earlier in the week.
“We have enough hands on deck to get things done,” Babcock said. “We’ve just got to skate better.
“We got skated into the ground in the first period. They played better longer than we did and, in the end, they won the game. They get full marks. We’ve got to skate way better than this.”
The Red Wings’ next game is Saturday night against Colorado at Joe Louis Arena.
The start of another streak, perhaps?