After a playoff-esque back-and-forth match, the Red Wings jumped ahead further in the Western Conference standings with a win over their next best competitor, the Vancouver Canucks after a 4-3 win in the shootout. The Wings have stretched their lead to four points at the top of the West and six points ahead in the Central.
Danny Cleary scored for Detroit early on, while Ryan Kesler got Vancouver on the board later in the first. With the game tied at one, one thing became very clear, and it was how Vancouver can get under the skin against anyone, even the stoic Detroit Red Wings. The Canucks drew two fights, the first between Justin Abdelkader and Maxim Lapierre right after Jiri Hudler's goal to set up a 2-1 lead for the Wings.
To add to the atmosphere of the game, the officials swallowed their whistles in the third period, letting the two teams duke it out, and the second set of fisticuffs occurred between Todd Bertuzzi and Keith Ballard along the boards.
The second of the two fights preceded a goal from Alexandre Burrows to send the game back into a tie. Just 1:55 later, Detroit regained the lead, but shortly after the game was in the WIngs' favor, Mason Raymond got one back for Vancouver, tying the game at three. After a hard-fought overtime period by both teams, Detroit took simplicity over Vancouver's skill and won in the shootout, thanks to Pavel Datsyuk and Hudler getting two pucks past Roberto Luongo.
If the Canucks and Wings met in the playoffs, based on the battles between these teams in three games so far this season, sign me up to watch every game of that series.