The Red Wings find themselves digging out of a hole as they head into a Saturday showdown against the Canucks.

In a game they should have won, given the Flames' rapid descent down the standings, the Wings lost, 3-2, Wednesday at Calgary. They took Thursday off because they don't play again until the weekend. The last time they were in Vancouver on a Saturday night, the Wings overcame an early deficit to best the Canucks, 5-2.

The Wings couldn't overcome a slow start Wednesday, thanks to a pair of incidents that defy the odds.

First it was an exchange between Jimmy Howard and Jonathan Ericsson that went wrong, when Ericsson went behind Detroit's net to pick up the puck. When he tried to push it through Howard, the puck got stuck in Howard's skates, and he ended up kicking it into his own net. Howard called it "an unfortunate break. That's no one's fault. I guess Big E said it handcuffed him a little bit."

The second was gob-smacking.

During a Detroit power play, Howard went behind his net to catch the puck. Damien Brunner had bailed on his shift a touch early, and Niklas Kronwall was late to get on the ice. Kyle Quincey was on the other point. With the puck skipping along the end boards, Howard caught it and appeared to think he'd rim it around to Quincey.

Instead Steve Begin, all alone, swooped in and got the puck, then swung out front and found the net wide-open. Howard called it "a total mistake by me," but that's hardly fair. He got no help from any teammate.