The game started on a sad note as both Mike Green and Connor McDavid were dressed for puck drop. Both teams spent the first quarter of the period rifling the puck around the boards and grinding to kick the puck out front of each others’ nets. If you’re the type of hockey fan who says “perimeter play really gets my motor going,” then this was the start you’d been waiting for all year.
At 13:40, Edmonton took a too many men penalty, which ended up being one of those power plays that’s really run and gun in both directions, exactly the way nobody practices. The Wings finally did manage to get set up in the Edmonton zone about a minute in. Mark Letestu tried to clear, but did so very poorly, and Mickey basically called him an idiot for the botched play. Abdelkader gained control, shuffled the puck out to Zetterberg, who launched the puck to Tatar. Tatar’s subsequent one-timer flew past Talbot to give the Red Wings a 1-0 lead.
Don’t worry, though, Darnell Nurse launched a weak shot from the blue line sixty seconds later at Jimmy Howard, who couldn’t get a read on the puck thanks to the five bodies between him and it. The puck pinged off both posts and in to tie the game, 1-1.
The goals woke up play between the two squads and bodies started getting thrown around. It was pretty fun to watch until Mike Green got mesmerized by the puck as Draisaitl entered the zone and floated the puck over to Patrick Maroon. Maroon was all alone and Howard didn’t have much of a chance on the shot. 2-1 Oilers.
Nielsen’s line responded well to goal against and had some solid zone time afterward, but couldn’t make anything of it. Zetterberg and Larkin’s lines continued the pressure, with Tatar eventually drawing a tripping penalty because the Oilers just couldn’t handle a Jonathan Ericsson rotation.
The ensuing power play looked real pretty, but that’s all it was. Amidst some chit chat about Football Day in Michigan (still waiting on Cross Country Day in Michigan...) Kronwall fired a bad angle shot from the red line, aka the Zetterberg special. The puck bounced off Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and into the Oilers’ net. 2-2 tie on Kronwall’s tally, and the goal basically made up the weird one from Darnell Nurse earlier in the game.
Score: 2-2 tie
Shots: 11-8 Detroit
We saw Luke Glendening’s haircut in the intermission and now I can’t unsee it. A werewolf of London, he is not. The Oilers couldn’t unsee it either, which is why they came out pushing hard. They got a really nice chance in the slot, but Howard stood tall and deflected it away.
The period kind of just rolled on until halfway through when Scott Wilson went down after getting hit by an errant puck. X player collected the puck and in the confusion launched the puck into the Red Wings net to make it 3-2 Oilers.
Scott Wilson skated off the ice and into the locker room, adding insult to injury.
Cammaleri streaked down the ice and put the puck on Howard. Howard stopped the attempt, but Mark Letestu caught the rebound and snapped the puck past Howard to make it 4-2 Oilers.
And with that, Blashill pulled Howard and sent Mrazek over the boards. The score by now wasn’t really Howard’s fault, but a message needed to be sent to the skaters. Detroit by that point had only registered two shots on goal during the period.
The Oilers got a power play late in the period off a Jonathan Ericsson penalty, but the Wings’ penalty kill held the Oilers off for the duration.
Not long after, Connor McDavid laid a nice back pass on the break into the slot and X blasted the shot past Mrazek to make it 5-2 Oilers and suddenly the game became really ugly.
The Wings made it out the remainder of the period without any more goals, thank James, but as they headed into the locker room the Wings had some soul searching to do.
Score: 5-2 Oilers
The first quarter of the period started much like the first did: perimeter play with a few semi-decent opportunities that evolved into very few shots. That was the bright side: the Oilers weren’t getting shots on net. The bad side: neither were the Wings. It took the team in red over 8 minutes to register their first SOG.
Eventually the pace resumed to the usual tempo of the previous periods, so both teams were moving fairly quickly, but both teams forced each other to the outset and buttoned up the crease and the slot pretty well. Part of what allowed the Oilers to do this was a definite size advantage, so who ya gonna call up next game, cause clearly no one fears the Red Wings? That’s right, Eric freakin’ Tangradi and has duck army from thanksgiving hell, to bear swift vengeance to bear vengeance on the (checks schedule to so who we play next) the Rangers! It will be terrible and full of wroth! (What else is there to say about this meh period, folks? We can’t even really say it was a snoozer. Just, y’know, average.)
With 1:05 left, Puljujarvi fired a rocket past Mrazek to make the score 6-2 just to add salt to the wound, but that kind of exemplified to overall Red Wings effort level after the opening 20 minutes.
Score: 6-2 Oilers
Shots: 27-22 Oilers
What a bummer. But on the bright side, tomorrow is the annual Great Turkey Sacrifice to appease our Pilgrim forefathers. (The Vikings will be doing their best to sacrifice some Lions, too.) Hopefully everyone has a great time, and Happy Thanksgiving to all of you. Justin Abdelkader hopefully does, too, because he’s the player of a game, and that game is hockey. Also, he’s the player of this particular game, which sucked, but whatever. Turkey turkey turkey turkey turkey turkey turkey....