VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP)—Sami Salo woke up just in time to save the Canucks.
After missing the previous two games with the flu, Salo returned Monday night to set up the tying goal with 2:25 left in regulation and score the winner on a power play 2:33 into overtime, lifting Vancouver to a 3-2 victory over the Detroit Red Wings.
“I basically slept the last 96 hours before today, so it’s a nice feeling to get the win,” said Salo, whose point shot was tipped in by Daniel Sedin to tie it.
That came 50 seconds after Pavel Datsyuk gave Detroit the lead with a power-play goal. The Red Wings outshot Vancouver 34-16 through regulation, but it was all Canucks in overtime.
Salo finally ended it after Johan Franzen was called for interference, one-timing Pavol Demitra’s soft pass over Osgood’s shoulder from just inside the left circle after the Canucks worked the puck around for almost a full minute.
“I have to thank (Demitra) for that goal,” said Salo, who also hit the post in the opening minutes. “I’ve had a few posts here lately.”
Curtis Sanford made 32 saves in his first start since star goalie Roberto Luongo was injured, and Taylor Pyatt also scored for the Canucks, who have won four straight for the first time this season. Vancouver hasn’t lost in regulation since a 3-2 defeat to Detroit on Nov. 2, going 8-0-2 since.
“We’re rallying around each other,” Sanford said. “There’s adversity right now and we’re finding a way to deal with it. We have each other’s back out there and we’re going to find a way to get through all this.”
Mikael Samuelsson had a goal and an assist for the Red Wings. The defending Stanley Cup champions had their five-game winning streak snapped, but still lead the NHL with a 10-1-2 record on the road.
“We let one slip away,” coach Mike Babcock said. “Full marks to them. We gave up 24 shots on the road and very few opportunities and they were able to find a way to win. We took a penalty in overtime and they made a good play.”
Osgood finished with 21 saves, but the story in goal was Sanford.
It was his first start since Luongo was injured Saturday in Pittsburgh, but third straight appearance overall. Sanford won Thursday in Minnesota—his first start in more than a month and first victory in 11 months—and Saturday after replacing Luongo, who is out at least a week, likely longer, with a strained groin.
“It’s nice for Curtis,” said Sedin, whose late goal was his 400th point. “He’s going to be in the net for a while and it’s a good start. We know he’s a good goalie, so he can keep this going.”
Sedin also assisted on Salo’s winner.
Samuelsson opened the scoring midway through the first period with a backhand shot that beat Sanford under the blocker, but he stood tall as Detroit outshot the Canucks 10-3 in the second period, including a brief 5-on-3 amid consecutive power plays for the league’s top-ranked unit.
Sanford’s best save came off a teammate, throwing out his glove at the last second after a cross-ice pass hit Mitchell’s skate at the top of the crease.
“I felt confident out there and felt I was moving well,” Sanford said. “I think it just comes with playing. Every goalie wants to play all the time, but I feel I’m getting a little more comfortable every game and through every period.”
Vancouver lost RW Steve Bernier to an undisclosed injury midway through the first period. … Red Wings LW Tomas Holmstrom missed his third game with a back injury and isn’t expected to return for at least another week. RW Dan Cleary missed his seventh game with a scratched eye, but could return before the end of this week. Detroit used D Derek Meech as a forward in their absence. … Vancouver D Kevin Bieksa, out six games with a broken foot, has resumed skating and should return to practice this week.