The Detroit Red Wings had been in a funk since handing the Colorado Avalanche their first loss of the season.
They had lost four straight games heading into the start of a four-game road trip through Western Canada.
Then again, a showdown against Roberto Luongo and the Vancouver Canucks may have been just what the doctor ordered.
Daniel Alfredsson and Tomas Tatar each scored a goal on Luongo, whom the Wings have tormented in three of their last four meetings against the Canucks, and the Wings held the Canucks to a season-low 20 shots on goal in a 2-1 Red Wings win to end a four game skid, as well as a five-game winning streak for the Canucks.
The Canucks played a seemingly conservative game, which fit right into the hands of the Wings, as they were able to get back to their bread and butter of puck possession hockey.
"When we're careless with the puck and careless with our structure we don't look very good," Wings coach Mike Babcock said. "We're a team that needs to play a certain way to be successful."
Daniel Sedin got the Canucks on the board first at 14:12 of the first period after he took a feed from his brother, Henrik and sent a wrister past Jimmy Howard.
Alfredsson answered with his third goal of the season at 11:37 of the second. Kyle Quincey's shot on net was initially deflected off the skate of Brendan Smith, and the puck eventually found its way to Alfredsson, who beat Luongo off of a rebound.
Tatar's goal ended up being the killer for the Canucks. After he skated along the right wing boards, Tatar then stopped just inside the blue line, and fired a shot from outside the right circle. Canucks defensemen Chis Tanev tried to get out of the way, he had just lifted his foot prior to the puck sailing past him and between Luongo's legs at 18:58.
It was Tatar's first goal of the season.
"I just tried to shoot it on net and the puck somehow ended up in," said Tatar.
The Canucks never recovered, even with a late power play in the final seconds, as a potential tying goal from Ryan Kesler missed the net.
"We had the puck a lot more because we executed out of our defensive zone fast, we didn't waste a lot of time in there and we got through neutral zone and in the end had way more puck possession because of it and that's the right way to play," Babcock said. "Tonight was a good step for our team. Now we've got to match it."
Howard finished with 19 saves.
NOTES: Luongo has lost his last three starts against the Wings, who have outscored the Canucks 15-6 in those three meetings.
- DET Pavel Datsyuk
- VAN Roberto Luongo (L, 25 Saves, .926 Save Percentage)
- DET Tomas Tatar (GW Goal)
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