Jiri Hudler collected his fourth goal in three contests and also tallied in the shootout as the Detroit Red Wings skated to a 4-3 road triumph over the Vancouver Canucks on Thursday in a battle of Western Conference powers.
Danny Cleary returned from a brief stay in the hospital to record a goal and an assist and Drew Miller also tallied for Detroit, which improved to 6-0 in shootouts this season. With their ninth win in 10 games, the Red Wings secured their 71st point to move past the idle New York Rangers for the NHL lead.
With Hall of Famer Gordie Howe in attendance, the Red Wings enjoyed a decided 43-25 edge in shots on goal but found themselves knotted at 3-3 after Mason Raymond's wrist shot leveled the contest with 4:24 remaining the third period.
All-Star Jimmy Howard denied Alex Edler's backhander in the shootout before Raymond's attempt sailed wide of the net. After All-Star Pavel Datsyuk wristed his attempt past Roberto Luongo, Hudler did the same to end the contest.
Michigan native Ryan Kesler scored for the third time in four contests and Alex Burrows also tallied for Vancouver, which finished its six-game homestand with a 3-1-2 mark and is now four points behind Detroit in the Western Conference.
Cleary, who was briefly hospitalized with fluid in his knee, opened the scoring at 5:27 of the first period and had the primary assist on Miller's tally.