The Wings spoiled a chance to take advantage of the NHL-worst Edmonton Oilers, and keep a gap between themselves and the Flames. Instead, they limp into extra time, only to lose in a shootout. The charity point helps, but not as much as it would have if San Jose could take care of business (raise your hand if you're shocked!). With Calgary winning, and Detroit only getting one point out of central Alberta, the two squads are tied with 81 points -- but fear not, Detroit has a game in hand.
The first period was all Edmonton. Andrew Cogliano opened the scoring in the first minute of the game, and the Wings were on their heels from that point on. By the five minute mark, Ryan Whitney had made it 2-0, and Mike Babcock had taken his timeout -- to silently pace the bench and let the guys soak in how little emotion they were showing.
Patrick Eaves, who would leave the game between the second and third periods with what the team is describing as an upper body injury, got Detroit on the board with just over 8 minutes to play in the middle frame. A great pass from Kris Draper behind the net to the high slot found Eaves, who cut the Oilers lead in half.
The rest of the game was pretty uneventful.
Oh, unless you count the last 0.3 seconds.
When it seemed like all was lost, and with Jimmy Howard on the bench for a sixth skater, the Wings were scrambling. The puck was under an Oiler in the corner as the clock ticked down, but with a second left -- the rubber scrambled across the crease, finding a streaking Brian Rafalski who found some Olympic heroics in his back pocket. The game was tied with less than half a second on the clock and we were headed for overtime.
Like usual, things didn't go the Wings way in the extra frame and shootout. Of Detroit three shooters (Pavel Datsyuk, Jason Williams, and Valtteri Filppula), only Williams could get past Devan Dubnyk, who earned his first career NHL win, as two Oilers shooters got past Howard in the ridiculous skills competition that we use to determine winners in this alleged team sport.
No word yet on Eaves' status for tomorrow's game against the Canucks. A little less than 24 hours to recover from this one, and it's Northwest Division leading Vancouver.