Howard made 14 saves in the third period and another four in overtime to help the Red Wings rally after they trailed 2-0 midway through the second.
“It feels great for us to get a win after a pretty lackluster start to the game,” Howard said. “We haven’t had a lot of games where we’ve come back like that.”
[WATCH: All Canucks vs. Red Wings highlights]
Justin Abdelkader and Gustav Nyquist scored in regulation for the Red Wings (5-8-2), who have won four of their past five games.
“With every win, we’re getting a little more confidence,” Nyquist said. “We didn’t have a good first period and we got behind, but we turned it around and got a huge win.”
Elias Pettersson and Ben Hutton scored for Vancouver (9-6-1), which had won three in a row. Jacob Markstrom made 28 saves.
“I liked our game tonight, especially the first period,” Canucks coach Travis Green said. “We came out and got 42 shots.”
Pettersson became the 17th player in NHL history to score 10 goals in his first 10 career games, and the fourth in the past 90 years.
“I’m very happy about that company, but we didn’t win the game,” he said.
Pettersson hit the crossbar in overtime and missed on Vancouver’s first attempt in the shootout.
“I think this is a point lost tonight,” he said. “We had a 2-0 lead and we had more scoring chances than they did, but we didn’t finish it off.”
Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill normally uses forwards Thomas Vanek, Frans Nielsen and Andreas Athanasiou in the shootout. But with all three injured, it was forward Dylan Larkin who shot first and scored the only goal.
“[Larkin] is happy, not just because we won the game but because he earned another chance,” Blashill said. “His stats aren’t good, but he’s always telling us how much he has worked on it. He scored tonight, so he’ll get to go out there again.”
Pettersson gave the Canucks a 1-0 lead at 13:29 of the first period when he took a pass from Loui Eriksson and put a slap shot over Howard’s glove from the top of the left face-off circle.
“That was just an unbelievable shot,” Howard said. “He’s going to be a very special player in this league. It’s like facing (Tampa Bay Lightning forward Nikita) Kucherov; he can get a shot off so quickly and put it right where he wants it.”
Red Wings forward Martin Frk appeared to tie the game at 5:36 of the second period on a shot from the right circle, but the goal was overturned after the Canucks challenged for offside.
The Canucks took a 2-0 lead at 11:21 of the second period when Hutton’s wrist shot from the point beat a screened Howard. The Red Wings challenged for offside and were given a bench minor when the call stood.
The Red Wings killed the penalty, and Abdelkader scored at 13:43 after Canucks forward Adam Gaudette took a holding penalty.
“That was when the whole game changed,” Abdelkader said. “We killed the penalty and then we scored on the power play. That was the first time we had momentum all night.”
Canucks defenseman Christopher Tanev and forward Tyler Motte blocked Larkin’s pass across the front of the net, but Abdelkader knocked the loose puck past Markstrom from the slot.
“Our guys played that perfectly, and the puck just went to the worst possible spot,” Markstrom said. “There’s nothing you can really do about that.”
The Red Wings tied the game at 1:37 of the third period when Nyquist put a rebound over Markstrom’s shoulder from the edge of the crease.
They said it
“That’s what [Pettersson] does; he can make something out of nothing. He could have had another four points tonight and we’re all on the bench shaking our heads and saying, ‘Holy [cow], how is he doing that?'” — Canucks defenseman Ben Hutton
“The biggest moment of the game was the way our guys stepped up when we challenged their goal and lost. They got the kill, drew a penalty and scored on the power play. From then until we tied the game, we played really well.” — Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill
Need to know
Don Murdoch scored 11 goals in his first 10 games for the New York Rangers in 1976-77. Dmitri Kvartalanov (Boston Bruins) and Robert Gaudreau (San Jose Sharks) each had 10 goals in the first 10 games in 1992-93. Thirteen other players did it in the NHL’s first two seasons (1917-18, 1918-19). … Nyquist has one goal and five assists in a five-game point streak.
Canucks: At the Boston Bruins on Thursday (7 p.m. ET; NESN, SNP, NHL.TV)
Red Wings: Host the New York Rangers on Friday (7:30 p.m. ET; FS-D, MSG, NHL.TV)