The Vancouver Canuck goaltender was beaten on Johan Franzen’s seeing-eye, shorthanded shot in the third period that gave the Detroit Red Wings a 3-2 NHL win Tuesday night. The victory extended Detroit’s win streak to nine consecutive games, tying a franchise record. Franzen scored his third goal of the season at 6:19 of the final period when he fired a low shot that went through the legs of rookie Canuck defenceman Patrick Coulombe and Luongo’s five-hole.
Luongo, who made 30 saves to keep the game close, hung his head afterwards. The Canucks have lost three in a row and six of their last seven.
Franzen admitted he was a little lucky on the play.
“I tried to shoot between the legs of the defenceman,” he said. ” I hoped he (Luongo) won’t see it. I think normally he would stop that puck.”
Luongo, who signed a four-year, US$27-million deal after being traded to Vancouver from Florida, said he was screened on the play.
“I was set and it just went through me,” he said. “I couldn’t have played the shot differently. “I think I did what I have to do but, unfortunately, it found a hole and went in.”
Valtteri Filppula and Henrik Zetterberg scored for the Red Wings, who improved their record to 12-4-1.
Detroit hasn’t lost since Oct. 21 in Edmonton. It’s the fifth time in franchise history the team has won nine consecutive games. The last streak was from Oct. 13 to Nov. 1 last season.
Dan Cleary, who saw his three-game goal-scoring streak end, said defence is the key to the Red Wings success.
“That’s how you win in this league, playing good solid defence,” said Cleary, who had two assists. “That’s been our mindset.
“Luongo kept them in the game and we just found a win to win. He’s a world-class goaltender but he’s human and puck do go by him.”
Henrik Sedin, on a power play, and Kevin Bieksa scored for the Canucks. Trevor Linden earned his 400th assist and 700th point as a Canuck on Bieksa’s goal.
Vancouver’s record dropped to 8-10-1.
The Canucks thought they had tied the game midway through the third period when Alex Burrows scored. But referee Bill McCreary called off the goal because he had called Jan Bulis for interference on Red Wing goalie Dominik Hasek.
“The referee made the right decision,” said Hasek, who faced 20 shots. “I don’t know if he tripped me intentionally but he definitely tripped me.”
Canuck captain Markus Naslund, who had one assist on the night, thought the penalty was harsh.
“I thought it was a borderline call and that could have turned the game around,” said Naslund, who has one goal in the last six games. “We don’t get the breaks right now.
“We have to win without getting the breaks.”
Hasek came into the game having posted back-to-back shutouts. Sedin’s second-period goal broke his streak after 181 minutes, 17 seconds.
“It was a sweet win,” said Hasek. “They were coming back. They were aggressive in the third period.
“Luongo played great even though he made a mistake and it cost them the game.”
Vancouver was lucky to be tied 1-1 heading into the third period after being outshot 24-10 after the first 40 minutes.
The Canucks were badly outplayed the first period, managing just one shot on goal during three power plays. If it wasn’t for Luongo, Vancouver never would have been in the game.
“We have to play better to get out of this,” said Naslund.
“It’s got to come from within the room. We have to find a way soon.”
Notes: The last time the Canucks scored more than two goals in regulation was a 5-0 win over Chicago back on Oct. 25. …canuck defenceman Willie Mitchell return to action after missing nine games with a concussion. …Marc Chouinard, Brendan Morrison, Linden, Bulis and Tommi Santala were all kept on the ice for extra skating Monday. …Bulis, who watched Saturday’s loss against Calgary from the press box, returned to the lineup. …The Canucks opened the season with a 3-1 win over the Wings in Detroit.