VANCOUVER, BC – Alex Nedeljkovic made 43 saves, Pius Suter scored and the Detroit Red Wings beat the Vancouver Canucks 1-0 on Thursday night to end a six-game winless streak.
Nedeljkovic had his second shutout of the season and the fifth of his career. Suter scored midway through the second period, with help from Vladislav Namesnikov.
The win gave Detroit the sweep of the season series after the Red Wings beat the Canucks 3-1 on Oct. 16.
“It’s big. It’s one that we can look back on as the year goes on now and kind of tell ourselves that we can play in these low-scoring kind of games,” Nedeljkovic said. “We can play good defense and I think we did play some really good defense tonight. We gave up some chances, but, they got some high-end players over there so they’re going to get their chances and tonight pucks were hitting me. It’s just good. We’re gonna take it and run with it.
Thatcher Demko stopped 34 shots for the Canucks.
Nedeljkovic stopped 12 shots in the first period, 17 in the second and 14 in the third to improve to 16-18-6 on the season.
“That first period might have been our worst period all year, including the games where we gave up five goals. We must have gave the puck away 25 times,” Canucks coach Bruce Boudreau said. “That gave them the confidence to play. If you step on them early, they probably say ‘Oh, here we go again.’ But we didn’t. We gave them a chance to play the game.”
Vancouver pushed in the third, outshooting the Red Wings 14-4 in the period and pulling Demko with 2:23 left on the game clock.
Vancouver center Elias Pettersson returned after missing a game because of an undisclosed upper-body injury.
Vancouver nearly tied things up ahead of the second intermission when Conor Garland found himself alone deep in Detroit territory. He put a backhanded shot on net but couldn’t get it up and over Nedeljkovic’s pad.
“At the halfway point, I think we started playing good and created plenty of chances to score,” Pettersson said. “We’ve just got to bury them. It’s one of those days when you just have to tip your hat to the other goalie. We’ve got to find a way to put the puck in the net.”
The Red Wings opened the scoring 8:09 into the second moments after killing off their first penalty of the night.
Canucks captain Bo Horvat had a pass picked off in front of the Detroit net and Namestnikov streaked up the ice before slicing a pass to Suter. Suter attempted to send the puck back to his teammate but instead hit the stick of a diving Canucks defenseman Quinn Hughes, sending the puck deflecting through Demko’s legs.
The Red Wings were coming off a 7-5 loss to the Oilers in Edmonton, and coach Jeff Blashill said he saw similarities between the two games.
“Obviously we got down against Edmonton but I thought we did a really good job at being relentless, hounding the puck on the forecheck. Certainly, we still had mistakes and we still had breakdowns,” he said. ”(Nedeljkovic) was excellent. I thought Demko was excellent. Both goalies faced a lot of real chances and they both did an outstanding job."
NOTES: Vancouver F J.T. Miller saw his 13-game point streak snapped. He had eight goals and 19 assists in the stretch, dating back to Feb. 12. ... Red Wings D Nick Leddy was a healthy scratch. … Former Canucks D Troy Stecher played his first game as a visitor to Rogers Arena. The native of British Columbia signed with the Red Wings as a free agent in 2020.
Red Wings: At Seattle on Saturday night.
Canucks: Host Calgary on Saturday night.