The Edmonton Oilers snapped a three-game losing streak, partially due to the H1N1 infestation of their team, with a 6-5 shootout win in Edmonton on Thursday evening. The Detroit Red Wings found a way to earn a point on the road, storming back from a 4-0 and later 5-2 deficit at the end of the second period with three markers in the third frame to send the game into overtime. Only one player scored in the shootout for either team, Patrick O'Sullivan, which handed the 'W' and the two points to Edmonton.
The Wings got some bad news when Valtteri Filppula fell awkwardly after a hit along the boards at some point in the second. Coach Mike Babcock told FSDetroit after the game that he broke his wrist and will unfortunately be out 6-8 weeks.
We're just going to skip the first-period recap as the Wings allowed three tallies on 12 shots. Heading into the second period, Ales Hemsky scored his second goal of the evening just 58 seconds into the period when he beat netminder Jimmy Howard five-hole on a breakaway.
The Wings would finally get on the board at the 6:15 mark into the middle frame with forward Darren Helm scoring his first regular-season goal ever on a blast from the top of the right faceoff circle. Coach Mike Babcock had him as a healthy scratch for Tuesday's game against Vancouver, hoping that it would spark his play. Helmer told FSDetroit during the second intermission that while Babcock's decision was frustrating, "I thought it was good for me."
Less than three minutes later, the Oilers responded in a mad scramble in front of the net on a power play. Forward Shawn Horcoff ultimately got the puck past Howard for his third point of the night (he posted two assists earlier in the game).
Forward Henrik Zetterberg brought the Wings within three 12:50 into the second stanza after throwing the puck at the cage, which surprisingly went in from the weird angle he was at below the left faceoff circle. Teammates Niklas Kronwall and Pavel Datsyuk registered assists on the play.
Detroit kept the pressure on Edmonton in the second, hitting the post twice in a short span of time. Edmonton took a narrow lead over the Wings in the shot and scoring chances categories (23-22 and 10-9 respectively) as the two squads heading to their respective locker rooms.
The Wings made it a game in the first half of the third period, scoring twice in a span of 1:12. Defenseman Jonathan Ericsson earned his third goal of the season at the 6:32 mark. Kris Draper backhanded a pass to drop the puck back to Ericsson, who was stationed atop the left faceoff circle, for a quick release that beat Khabibulin.
Just a short time later, Datsyuk deked an Oiler to find room to slide a pass to to Todd Bertuzzi, who popped it in from just above the inside hash of the left faceoff circle, to make it a one-goal difference.
Patrick Eaves evened the game up at 5-5 on his first goal of the year. He got a shot off through an Oiler's legs to beat Khabibulin gloveside. Helmer and Ericsson notched the assists. He spoke with FSDetroit after the game:
"We would have liked to get off to a better start...We just came together as a group and everyone did their job, pulled their weight...I'm just trying to make the best out of the time I got."
It was mainly Detroit in the third as they outshot Edmonton 20-6 in the period, but the game went into overtime with a 5-5 tie at the end of regulation. Despite numerous solid chances for both teams, the teams went scoreless in extra time resulting in a shootout.
Howard stays with his man, stuffing the first Oiler of the shootout. Jason Williams went first for the Wings, but Khabibulin got his pad on the shot. Hemsky tries to deke a couple times, but sent the shot wide of the net. Datsyuk goes next and opts for head-on shot instead of trying to deke, but no luck. O'Sullivan hits the back bar on his shot and gives Edmonton the lead in the shootout. Zetterberg cannot find a way to beat the Oilers' goalie, giving the 'W' to Edmonton.
Coach Babcock spoke with FSDetroit following the game:
"It was a heck of a comeback. It was good character and good grit...Obviously we weren't ready to go and it cost us a point...Filppula broke his wrist and will be out 6-8 weeks. It'll give someone an opportunity."
Christy's Red Wing of the Game: Darren Helm
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We saw an offensive effort from some unusual suspects today. Eaves, Ericsson, and Helm recorded a goal and an assist. Helmer and Eaves earned their first goal of the regular season this year in the game. Datsyuk posted two helpers.
The Wings finish up their five-game road trip in Calgary on Saturday night at 10 p.m. EDT.