Even though Chicago and Minnesota are currently stealing the show in the Western Conference, two teams that are never left out of playoff discussions are the Red Wings and Canucks. Wednesday evening, the two met to faceoff for the second time this season. Detroit won the first bout, 2-0. Yet, this time, Vancouver won, 4-2, featuring a rather feisty ending to the game.
Coming into the match, Jimmy Howard already has a 2-0 shutout effort against Vancouver in October. In his last three matches against Vancouver, he had a 0.98 GAA (via Yahoo!). However, those numbers would be thrown out the window in the first period as the Canucks would use the boards to forge a forecheck in the Detroit zone and then use the open ice in the middle to make a play for a shot. The strategy would prove successful for the Canucks three times, thanks to Chris Higgins, Cody Hodgson and Alexandre Burrows. Todd Bertuzzi scored Detroit's lone first period goal.
Down 3-1, the Red Wings, as expected, made adjustments and dominated the offensive side of things, upping their first period shot total of eight with 16 shots in the second period. Their work was rewarded with a goal that just squeaked past Roberto Luongo, who finished the game with 38 saves, with 4:40 left to cut the deficit to one goal.
After an evenly paced game thus far, the third period would get a little chippy, and pretty physical, at times, especially for a game that only included four penalties total the entire time. A few questionable plays occurred, but the referees let them go for the most part.
Kesler, in reaction to the hit, dropped his gloves, looking to fight with the Wings' physical leader. Instead, the events following the hit resulting in a roughing penalty given to Vancouver, as Kesler sat bleeding in the penalty box.
The Canucks would exact revenge for the hit 30 seconds later with a shorthanded goal by Alexander Edler. Helping the shorty go in, though, was Jannik Hansen, who slipped and bowled into Howard, knocking him over and keeping him from making the save. After the goal, Howard didn't particularly like the decision to allow the goal, and came up swinging.
The main question raised here is why there wasn't an incidental contact ruling to disallow the goal. In short, the reason the goal stood was because Hansen (the attacking player) lost his edge due to contact with Henrik Zetterberg (the defending player) according to Rule 69.1 in the NHL Rulebook.
These kinds of things are left up to the discretion of the referee. What did you think?