DETROIT – Two of the NHL’s best goaltenders squared off for 65 minutes, and then some.
Henrik Zetterberg scored the only goal of the shootout to lift the Detroit Red Wings to a 3-2 win over the Vancouver Canucks on Thursday night. Dan Cleary scored twice for Detroit in regulation and Dominik Hasek made 26 saves. The NHL-leading Red Wings snapped a three-game losing streak.
Henrik Sedin had a goal and an assist for Vancouver and Markus Naslund also scored. Roberto Luongo made 47 saves for the Canucks.
“We threw a lot of shots at Luongo. He’s a great goalie, so that’s what you have to do,” Cleary said. “Dom shut them down. He was great for us.”
Zetterberg scored the winning goal in the shootout by slipping a backhander between Luongo’s pads after a fake.
“I could have gone high, but he opened up the five-hole,” Zetterberg said. “Luongo played a great game.”
The Canucks’ goaltender praised Zetterberg’s move.
“It was a simple, yet brilliant play,” Luongo said. “He carried from his forehand to his backhand, waited for the opening and put it five-hole.”
Luongo was voted in as a starter for the NHL all-star game on Jan. 27 in Atlanta but has elected to spend time with his pregnant wife during the break instead. Detroit’s other goalie, Chris Osgood, was chosen for the team, and Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said that he would start him if the decision is his.
San Jose’s Evgeni Nabokov and St. Louis’ Manny Legace are the other two Western Conference All-Star goaltenders.
Vancouver scored twice in the last four minutes of the second period to tie it at 2.
“He (Luongo) gave us a chance to tie up the game and we did it,” Canucks coach Alain Vigneault said.
Sedin made it 2-1 with 4:39 left when he put a rebound into an open net for his ninth goal. Naslund tied it with 1:52 remaining when his attempted pass from the right circle deflected in off the skate of Detroit defenceman Brian Rafalski. It was Naslund’s 16th goal.
Less than two minutes earlier, during a Red Wings power play, Rafalski had the puck in the slot and Luongo was down and out. But Rafalski’s shot hit the crossbar.
“I almost had to laugh,” Hasek said. “His shot hits the crossbar on one end and the puck goes in off his skate at the other end.”
Cleary’s second goal, his 18th of the season, made it 2-0. He tipped in Valtteri Filppula’s pass, which came to him through his legs at 1:51 of the second period.
Filppula won a battle for the puck along the right boards, skated across the top of the right circle and made the pass to Cleary.
“Fil made a real headsy play,” Cleary said. “Drew a lot of guys to him. I just went to the net. I just tried to get a stick on it as much as I could.”
Vancouver didn’t have a shot from the eight-minute mark of the first period until 7:32 of the second period, a total of 19:32.
“Obviously, in the first 30 minutes they gave us a lesson in how to generate offence,” Vigneault said.
Cleary opened the scoring with 1:16 left in the first period when he tipped Andreas Lilja’s shot from the left point out of the air and past Luongo.
Notes: Detroit RW Dallas Drake missed his second game due to a sore knee. … Naslund played in his 1,000th NHL game. … Canucks C Ryan Kesler is a native of the Detroit suburb of Livonia.