VANCOUVER — Elias Pettersson returned from a knee injury to lead his Vancouver Canucks to a 3-2 win over the Detroit Red Wings on Sunday.
The star rookie tallied a goal and an assist in the victory, bringing his point total for the season to 44.
He missed five games this month after suffering a slight MCL sprain against the Montreal Canadiens on Jan. 3.
Antoine Roussel and Bo Horvat also found the back of the net for Vancouver (23-21-6), while Brock Boeser registered a pair of assists.
Frans Nielsen and Thomas Vanek scored for Detroit (18-25-7).
Jacob Markstrom stopped 35-of-39 for the Canucks and Wings goalie Jonathan Bernier had 28 saves.
Vancouver struggled to get shots early, but capitalized on just its second chance of the game.
Midway through the first period, Boeser took a shot from the blue-line, which Pettersson, who was standing outside the crease deflected in the air and tipped past Bernier.
The 20-year-old centre has 23 goals and 21 assists this season.
Detroit roared back in the second frame, dominating the play and keeping the Canucks pinned in their own end.
Nielsen put the Wings on the board at 8:34 into the period, collecting a pass from Anthony Mantha and firing a one timer past Markstrom.
The goal marked the 450th point of the 34-year-old centre’s NHL career.
Nielsen added an assist six minutes later when Vanek, a former Canuck, deflected Danny DeKeyser’s shot into the Vancouver net.
Horvat evened the game again 7:27 into the third, sweeping in a low wrist shot off the faceoff for his 18th goal of the year.
The tally broke a scoring drought for the Canucks centre, who had 38 shots, but not a single goal in his previous 11 games.
Pettersson and Boeser both registered helpers on the play.
Roussel took back the lead for Vancouver with under seven minutes to go in the game, tipping in a shot fired by Canucks right-winger Jake Virtanen.
The play came less than three minutes after Bernier stopped Roussel on a breakaway.
Detroit pulled Bernier with 1:54 to go, but couldn’t score with the extra man.
The Wings will wrap up a Canadian road swing Tuesday when they visit the Oilers in Edmonton.
The Canucks have one more game before the all-star break. They’ll host the Carolina Hurricanes on Wednesday.
Gemma Karstens-Smith, The Canadian Press