Rookie defenceman Justin Schultz scored his fourth power-play goal of the season and Nikolai Khabibulin returned to the net with a 28-save performances, but the Edmonton Oilers dropped a 2-1 decision to the Detroit Red Wings on Saturday afternoon at Joe Louis Arena. The slim defeat was Edmonton's fifth consecutive loss, dropping their record to 4-4-3 on the year, though they've earned three single points during that span.
Take a closer look at the game as we go Under The Scope:
THE TURNING POINT
The Oilers were one-for-six on the power play against Detroit, but no missed opportunity was more costly than the five-on-three advantage they had early in the third period. Shortly after the Red Wings returned to full strength, Chris VandeVelde took a hooking penalty leading to Niklas Kronwall's game-winning PPG with 13:52 to go in regulation.
PLAY OF THE GAME
Nikolai Khabibulin hadn't started game since March 30, 2012, but you wouldn't have known it with the phenomenal pad save he made point-blank on Damien Brunner late in the middle frame, leading to Justin Schultz's power-play goal.
Red Wings superstar Pavel Datsyuk was a force all game long, scoring the opening goal on the power play and setting up Kronwall's power-play game-winner. He also logged 21:23 of ice time, 4:34 shorthanded, and went 13-for-18 in the faceoff dot.
THE UNSUNG HERO
Oilers winger Teemu Hartikainen logged 16:48 of ice time against Detroit, recorded a takeaway and tallied an assist on Justin Schultz's goal while also providing a crucial screen in front of goalie Jimmy Howard on the play.
STAT OF THE DAY
The Red Wings have now earned at least a single point in 23 of their last 24 meetings with the Oilers. Detroit has a 16-1-7 record during that time, with Edmonton's lone win during that span coming in December 2009.
THEY SAID IT
"He really came to compete and was a leader in this game. He gave us a chance to win, and he deserved a win." – Oilers Head Coach Ralph Krueger on goalie Nikolai Khabibulin
The Oilers depart Detroit and make a short flight south to Columbus for Sunday's contest against the Blue Jackets at 4pm (Sportsnet West, 630 CHED). The next Oilers home game is Tuesday against the Dallas Stars at 7:30pm (Sportsnet West, 630 CHED). It's the second meeting in a week at Rexall Place for the Oilers and Stars, as Dallas won 3-2 in OT on Wednesday.
4 – Power-play goals this season for Oilers blueliner Justin Schultz, the most of any rookie in the NHL this season.
364 – Days since Nikolai Khabibulin's last victory, which came on last year's Hockey Day In Canada game in Ottawa.
34 – Oilers faceoff percentage against the Red Wings as Edmonton continues to have trouble garnering success in the dot.
5 – Hits for Ladislav Smid, accounting for more than one-third of the team's body-checks, as the Oilers recorded 15 versus Detroit.
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