|Andrew Cogliano maneuvers around Detroit's Brian Rafalski in the second period of Edmonton's home game Nov. 20, 2008 at Rexall Place. (Photo by Andy Devlin/Edmonton Oilers Hockey Club.)
Despite scoring two goals in 21 seconds to get within one late in the third period, the Oilers were unable to complete the comeback and dropped a 4-3 decision to the Red Wings Thursday night. Andrew Cogliano, Lubomir Visnovsky, and Sheldon Souray scored for Edmonton, while Dwayne Roloson took the loss for the club.
The Wings came out swinging, firing five shots on Roloson in the game's first two minutes. The fifth shot -- courtesy of Jiri Hudler -- flew past the Oilers goalie and into the net to give the visitors an early 1-0 lead.
At 3:39, Tomas Kopecky took a tripping penalty to offer Edmonton a powerplay chance to tie it up. Although the club couldn't capitalize on the man-advantage, they tested Chris Osgood with six shots to even up the shot clock.
Four minutes later, Erik Cole activated the league's best powerplay unit by earning a tripping penalty of his own. It didn't take long for the Wings to make it count. Only 24 seconds into the five-on-four, Pavel Datsyuk got the best of Oilers penalty killers and Roloson to put Detroit up 2-0.
At the period's midway point, a second Red Wings powerplay made it 3-0. Six seconds into Ladislav Smid's hooking penalty, Kopecky tipped in Nicklas Lidstrom's shot from the point and prompted Oilers Head Coach Craig MacTavish to switch goaltenders. Roloson left the game after making seven saves on 10 shots and Mathieu Garon assumed his spot between the pipes.
Edmonton assumed the shot lead in the final five minutes of the frame, but despite two excellent scoring chances in which Osgood was out of position and the defencemen needed to step in, the home team was unable to break its goose-egg.
Back-to-back penalties to Ethan Moreau and Brian Rafalski late in the period forced 1:49 of four-on-four. Although the score remained unchanged through to the end of the period, fans headed to the first intermission buzzing from a fight between Sheldon Souray and Andreas Lilja.
The Oilers applied pressure early in the second, eventually drawing a hooking penalty from Lidstrom. But the club dropped to 0-for-3 on the powerplay and continued to trail the Wings by three.
But with 7:31 left in the middle frame, the Oilers got a fourth chance thanks to a second Lidstrom hooking penalty -- and the fourth time would prove to be a charm. After attempting battling Detroit's penalty killers for nearly a minute, Robert Nilsson slipped the puck to Andrew Cogliano who dropped down low and snapped it past Osgood to get the Oilers on the board.
But Detroit's two-goal lead would soon stretch back to three. At 16:32, Tom Gilbert's inference penalty gave the Red Wings their fourth powerplay, and although the Oilers killed 1:56 of the infraction, Hudler caught a rebound off the boards and surprised Garon to score his second of the game and his club's third on the man-advantage. Detroit concluded the second period up 4-1 and with a 29-22 shot lead.
Ladislav Smid talks about the first two periods
The Red Wings cracked the 30-shot mark in the early minutes of the third, thanks in part to a hooking penalty to rookie Liam Reddox. Later in the period, overlapping penalties to Derek Meech and Dustin Penner triggered another stretch of four-on-four, and the Oilers found traction on the opened-up ice.
After sneaking up the slot, Lubomir Visnovsky powered the puck past Osgood to set the score at 4-2. Detroit's Valtteri Filppula then took a double-minor for high-sticking to give the Oilers a sixth powerplay, and on the following face-off, Sheldon Souray used his legendary slapshot to get the home team within one.
The Oilers opted for six skaters in the final minute but the extra man failed to result in an extra goal and the Red Wings held on for a 4-3 win at Rexall Place Thursday night.