If there's a single game in the season you could point to this season and say that you were ashamed of the way in which it was won, it'd be tonight's game. Detroit picked up its sixth straight win but it wasn't a pretty one with the last place Oilers in town.
Detroit had a 4-goal lead after Johan Franzen's power-play goal at the 16:31 mark of the 2nd period. What happened next was down right embarrassing. Edmonton scored four consecutive goals and tied the game at the midway point of the third period.
Sure, the Wings got the two points out of the game but for a collapse like that to happen at this point in the season? Hard to stomach. It was a case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde; something common for the Wings this year. For the first period, they looked like they were going to bowl over Edmonton by a score of 8-0 or 9-1. They dominated the play at both ends of the ice and in the face-off circle and got goals from a screening Andreas Lilja (by a single thread on his jersey it seems), Niklas Kronwall on a rocket from the slot that found the top corner, and Drew Miller from the exact same spot.
With the way the Red Wings had been playing of late, you couldn't help but think the blown leads were a thing of the past. The ghosts of mid-season arose in Motown on Tuesday as the Wings simply could not stop Edmonton once they started up.
There were more chances in addition to the goals in the first period as Franzen was stopped twice within five seconds by Jeff Deslauriers. Deslauriers made some incredible saves all night and was probably the reason that this game didn't turn into a 8-0 laugher.
Deslauriers kept the bleeding to a minimum and a power-play goal by Tom Gilbert must have sparked the Oilers as Mike Comrie potted a goal 56 seconds later to cut the lead to two. The Red Wings bad side started to pop up as a Zack Stortini made it a one goal game with a wrap-around attempt that Lilja inadvertently forced past Howard's paddle and the wheels were now rolling for Edmonton. Tom Gilbert scored his second of the game about 7 minutes later to tie the game.
A Pavel Datsyuk shot from along the boards hit the stick of a net-crashing Brad Stuart and deflected past a jumping Deslauriers--dont' ask--to give the Red Wings the go-ahead goal. Not without review though as there was question as to whether Stuart's stick was below the bar. The goal stood and the Wings held on despite a late penalty to Nicklas Lidstrom that resulted in a 6 on 4 power play (by way of pulled goalie) for Edmonton.
Howard picked up his 32nd win for Detroit and the team moved to 40 wins on the year. Howard struggled with some of the shots in the game and didn't have his best night. But then again, no Red Wing has really played well against the Oilers this year it seems.
Shocking stat of the night: Of the 9 goals scored, a whopping FIVE were scored by defensemen. Of the three scored by Detroit players, two were off deflections and the other a blast from the low slot.
Player of the game: Brad Stuart. Stuart scored the game winner and played a pretty solid night all around. He and Kronwall were the only players to exit the game with a +2. Stuart dished out at least four hits, the goal, and a solid 18 minutes of play.