Red Wings ride 11 power plays to 4-2 win
"You know they're going to err on the side of making the call every time and you have to adjust accordingly. In my estimation, Detroit did a better job adjusting to that standard than we did," Oilers head coach Craig MacTavish said after the game.
"Our inability to control our sticks were the undoing for us tonight."
The game marked the return of Ethan Moreau to the Oilers lineup but with all the special teams play he only played 5:37 on the fourth line.
"I don't think at any point during the game we were able to roll four lines in succession. That's not the way we wanted to play," MacTavish stated.
Red Wings head coach Mike Babcock declined to comment on the officiating.
"Last game we had six minor penalties in the first period and I didn't talk about the refereeing then and I'm not going to talk about it now," he said.
The Wings' head man was pleased with his team's effort but did mention that there wasn't a lot of difference between the way Detroit played tonight and Tuesday.
"We're getting better as the series goes on and we're going to continue to get better," he said.
Detroit had a power play early after Raffi Torres took a tripping penalty at 25 seconds. Edmonton was able to kill it off and upon expiration skated down the ice for a quality scoring chance of their own.
Ryan Smyth set up Shawn Horcoff at the left side of Legace but Horcoff wristed it over the net.
Dwayne Roloson came up big in the opening minutes, stopping Datsyuk on a wrister from the right circle and then smothering the rebound. He was also sharp seconds later, denying Holmstrom on a tip-in from the slot.
Edmonton capitalized on its first power play of the night to take a 1-0 lead. Raffi Torres dug the puck out of the corner, flipped it to Pisani at the right faceoff dot and he made no mistake, whistling the puck five-hole past Legace.
The Oilers ran into some penalty trouble in the latter half of the first period and Detroit finally tied the game during a five-on-three power play. Mathieu Schneider teed up a shot from the right circle that was tipped in front by Holmstrom. The penalty came after the Oilers had killed off a full two-minute minor.
Edmonton was unable to generate any offence on a power play of their own in the final minutes of the first and shortly after the penalty expired, Detroit scored to move ahead 2-1.
The play went under a lengthy video review. Robert Lang shot the puck and it rang off both posts before deflecting off Jaroslav Spacek in front. There was some thought that Kronwall kicked it in but after about five minutes it was ruled a goal as it went off the Oilers defender.
Shots after one period were 14-6 for Detroit.
Early in the second, Dwayne Roloson made a five-bell stop on a Zetterberg one-timer to keep it a one-goal game.
Minutes later, the Oilers went on the man advantage and connected to tie the game at 2-2. Ales Hemsky found Jaroslav Spacek at the right circle and he one-timed a blast through the five-hole of Legace.
As the period progressed, the play between both clubs got more physical including some big hits and chippiness behind the play.
With six minutes left in the period, Detroit came close to tying the game just as a penalty to Brad Winchester expired. Brett Lebda pinched in from the point and one-timed a cross-ice pass but it rang off the post behind Roloson.
A minute later, with Edmonton shorthanded once again, Michael Peca got a shorthanded partial break. His backhand attempt was stopped by Legace.
Just as the penalty was about to expire, Detroit's Mikael Samuelsson took an interference penalty and Niklas Kronwall followed that up 20 seconds later to give Edmonton a two-man advantage for 1:31.
Although the Oilers were unable to score on the multiple power plays, they did generate some momentum heading into the second intermission.
"We had all kinds of chances, we had point shots. They got the shooting lanes. The ones we didn't get missed the net on a couple of five-star chances," said MacTavish.
Shots on goal after two were 21-19 in favour of Detroit as Edmonton outshot the Red Wings 13-7 in the middle frame.
The Oilers almost took the lead about three minutes into the third. Shawn Horcoff threaded a pass to Raffi Torres who was open in the slot but he couldn't get a handle on the feed after it hit his skate. The puck was lying in the crease uncontested for several seconds until it was batted away by Lidstrom.
After what looked to be a seemingly endless parade into the penalty box for Edmonton, Detroit scored on a two-man advantage to take a 3-2 lead.
Mathieu Schneider fed Nicklas Lidstrom at the right point where he blasted it high glove side over Roloson. Jarret Stoll was tripped up on the play with no call, igniting the wrath of the Rexall Place faithful.
"You take your chances there. It looked like a tactic where they switched sides and ran a little intereference on Jarret. He looked like he embellished the interference. You take your chances and they chose not to call it," noted MacTavish.
During yet another Edmonton penalty, Legace slipped up while trying to play the puck. Ryan Smyth scooped it up behind the net and wrapped it around the net. Legace dove across to make the save, although the play went to video review to confirm no goal.
Detroit went on their 11th power play of the game with five minutes left as Hemsky was ticketed for tripping. On the ensuing man advantage, Henrik Zetterberg converted a pass from Datsyuk, deking out Roloson before roofing the puck.
Detroit, 3-for-11 on the power play, took a 4-2 lead.
"We contributed to our demise. It's the first game in the series we've done that," MacTavish remarked.
NOTES: Ethan Moreau made his debut in this series, returning from a groin injury and Todd Harvey drew out of the lineup... Dick Tarnstrom (sore right hip) didn't play and as a result Matt Greene made his NHL debut... Steve Yzerman (back) was a late scratch with Mark Mowers dressing in his place... Jimmy Howard was Detroit's backup in place of Osgood, who took the pre-game warmup... The assist by Torres on Pisani's goal was his first career NHL playoff assist.