The Red Wings’ exciting 5-4 overtime win over the Vancouver Canucks at Joe Louis Arena on Wednesday night was a costly one.
Detroit lost Pavel Datsyuk for at least four weeks because of a broken bone in his hand-wrist area.
“It’s unfortunate, there’s nothing we can do about it. We got to find a way to dig in, just like we did tonight to get the game done,” Red Wings’ coach Mike Babcock said. “More opportunity for someone else. We know Pav’s a good player and we know he’s coming back. He gets a little bit of vacation so he’s ready for the playoffs.”
Datsyuk, who has 12 goals and 39 points in 33 games, will not need surgery and his hand will be placed in a cast.
Datsyuk was injured with about 1:30 left in the first period when he tripped over former Red Wings’ teammate Mikael Samuelsson in the Vancouver zone and landed on his right hand or wrist.
Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg are best friends and Zetterberg picked up the slack with his Euro Twin – what their teammates call the pair – partner out out of commission.
Zetterberg tied the game 3-3, 1:54 into the third period.
But Jeff Tambellini, who played at the University of Michigan, put Vancouver ahead 4-3 with 7:50 left.
However, Nicklas Lidstrom re-tied the contest with 3:26 left and sent it into overtime when he put in a rebound on the power play for his eighth goal.
Zetterberg, who also assisted on Lidstrom’s goal, got the game winner 2:59 into the overtime period.
“He seemed to throw us on his back and just took over in the third period,” Detroit goalie Jimmy Howard said. “That’s what you need your top players to do.’’
Zetterberg’s overtime tally got between the pads of Canucks’ goalie Roberto Luongo.
“It was nice to do that, change-up go in,” Zetterberg said. “It wasn’t the hardest shot but it found a way home.”
The Red Wings, first in the Western Conference after leapfrogging Dallas with the win, had lost their last two games and are only 4-4-2 in their last 10 games.
Vancouver is third in the Western Conference and three points behind Detroit
Howard gave Zetterberg the chance for his heroics. The goaltender stopped Henrik Sedin’s first shot from the slot and his rebound attempt from in close 36 seconds into the third period.
“We’re up 3-2, got a top scorer with a great chance to make it 4-2 and the goaltender makes the save,” Canucks’ coach Alain Vigneault said.
Danny Cleary and Valtteri Filppula also scored for the Red Wings. Brian Rafalski had three assists and Howard made 35.
Birth twins Henrik and Daniel Sedin each had a goal and an assist for Vancouver and Samuelsson also scored. Livonia native Ryan Kesler had three assists and Luongo stopped 40 shots.
The Red Wings play in St. Louis for their final game before Christmas Thursday night at 8 p.m.
With back-to-back games, Chris Osgood may get the start for another opportunity for his 400th career win. He was denied in Sunday’s 4-3 overtime loss to Dallas at Joe Louis Arena.
Detroit defenseman Ruslan Salei got an assist for his 200th career point. … The Red Wings recalled rookie defenseman Jakub Kindl from his two-week conditioning stint with their AHL affiliate in Grand Rapids.