DETROIT -- The refereeing was lousy, but so were the Vancouver Canucks.
Given the chance to turn what had been a good road trip into an excellent one, the Canucks instead careened right off the road in the Motor City on Sunday, falling 8-3 to the Detroit Red Wings at Joe Louis Arena.
The Canucks were downright embarrassed by an injury-riddled Detroit team that it is not supposed to be as good as it once was.
Roberto Luongo, who has been so sharp this season, was not good at all on Sunday as he gave up all eight goals on 28 Detroit shots.
Luongo was leading the NHL with a 1.45 goals-againsat average when this game started. When it was over, that number had ballooned to 2.11. And his sparkling .941 save percentage had plummeted to .916.
"Obviously I wasn't good enough," Luongo said. "Getting scored on eight times is embarrassing and it's one of those games you want to forget about and move on."
This one might give the Canucks nightmares. They led 3-2 after the first period, but then allowed the Wings to score six unanswered goals in the final two periods. They ended their four-game trip as road kill.
"We were far from good enough, that's the bottom line," said Canuck captain Henrik Sedin. "They wanted these two points more than we did. They have a very skilled team and if you don't give 100 per cent they are going to give it to you and they did that tonight."
This one certainly can't just be pinned on Luongo. The first two Detroit goals bounced in off Vancouver defencemen, but there were more than a couple others he did not look good on.
Luongo, who shut out the Nashville Predators on Friday night, said he did not see this one coming.
"It is one of those where you feel like the puck is just finding a way in almost every shot," he said. "I couldn't tell you that I felt bad. I had good jump, but obviously it's not a good enough performance by me. When you let in eight goals it's pretty embarrassing."
The Canucks were not happy with the officiating and had some legitimate reasons to gripe. The Wings had five power-play opportunities before Vancouver got its first and a couple of the calls were downright wrong.
Zack Kassian got whistled for goaltender interference early in the second when it was actually Detroit defenceman Kent Huskins who ran into Wings goalie Jimmy Howard.
Later, Vancouver winger Dale Weise was called for an illegal check to the head on Huskins at centre ice. He didn't touch Huskins' head.
"I would love to know the answer there," Wesie said. "I am coming through the middle just trying to finish my check and I even let up on it a little bit. He's kind of in a vulnerable position there and I let up and I made sure I just kind of made contact with his shoulder...That's an unbelievable call at that time."
The Wings scored on both of those power plays and added another power-play goal later in the second to blow the game open.
"Zack's first penalty is a little bit mind-boggling to anybody that watched that," said Vancouver coach Alain Vigneault. "Their guy hit their goaltender and we got a penalty.
"That being said, it was 3-2 for us after the first period, and after that it went sideways."
That's putting it politely.
The Canucks finished their trip with two wins and a pair of losses. They earned five of a possible eight points, but it could have been so much better had they handled the Wings. Detroit was the tired team, having played at home on Saturday night. But it was the Canucks who looked gassed after playing their fourth road game in six nights.
"We could have made a good one (trip) a great one, but now we let this one slip away and that can't happen," said Henrik Sedin. "We are a team that takes pride in being consistent and playing hard each and every night. We didn't do that tonight.
"It was a tough one, we got a great start and I though our team played really well the first 10 minutes. But they got a few power plays in the second and scored on those ones and took over the game."
Henrik set up his brother Daniel for two nice first-period goals and when Chris Higgins scored on a wraparound at 18:28 of the first, the Canucks had a 3-2 lead.
"Can't say too much about the officiating, but you guys saw the game," said centre Ryan Kesler. "But we let it affect us too much. They have a good power-play and they capitalized on our mistakes."
Dan Cleary, Henrik Zetterberg and Damien Brunner scored those three power-play goals in the second. Brunner added his second of the game midway through the third before Joakim Andersson added a little salt to the wound by scoring two goals less than a minute apart late in the third.
ICE CHIPS: The loss dropped Vancouver's record to 10-4-4. The Wings improved to 9-7-3. . .The Canucks played without winger David Booth (flu) and defenceman Kevin Bieska (groin). Andrew Alberts filled in for Bieksa, while Aaron Volpatti took Booth's spot. . .The Canucks play host to the Phoenix Coyotes on Tuesday night.
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Vancouver Canucks goalie Roberto Luongo, left, and defenceman Christopher Tanev (8) defend the goal as Detroit Red Wings centre Valtteri Filppula (51), of Finland, and left wing Justin Abdelkader, top, try to score in an NHL game Sunday, Feb. 24, 2013, in Detroit.
Photograph by: Duane Burleson, AP