Following the slow start, the Oilers began to push. A strong, minute-long sequence by the team's 94-10-83 connection helped Ladislav Smid wind up with a pair of quality chances, but were both turned aside by Red Wings starter Jimmy Howard.
At 10:35, however, and on Detroit's fourth shot, the Red Wings pulled ahead. A centering pass by Patrick Eaves pinballed off the skates of Jeff Petry and Tom Gilbert into the slot; Drew Miller was there to pounce, snapping the puck behind an ill-prepared Nikolai Khabibulin to put the home side up 1-0.
A tripping minor to Theo Peckham at 15:30 put the Red Wings' 18.5-percent power-play to work. Point-blank chances by Nick Lidstrom, Dan Cleary and Johan Franzen propelled Detroit to an 11-9 shot advantage, but the Oilers' 86.9-percent PK, along with the heroics of Khabibulin, helped best the Wings' attack.
With 20 minutes expired, the Oilers continued to trail 1-0.
It didn't take for the Red Wings to extend the lead. Just 2:05 into the period, Niklas Kronwall stepped into a bullet at the point, beating Khabibulin upstairs, blocker-side, to make it a 2-0 game.
In need of a spark, Lennart Petrell provided it 46 seconds later. The 27-year-old rookie dropped the mitts with Detroit's Justin Abdelkader in a spirited and highly-entertaining bout. Petrell was a little too agressive, however; he was assessed a minor for instigating, plus an additional minor for insigating with a visor.
As a result, the Red Wings were put on an extended four-minute power-play.
Having already made 12 saves on the night, Khabibulin came up big. Henrik Zetterberg, who was a game-time decision, drove the net and created a gold-star rebound opportunity for Franzen. No. 93 snapped a quick shot, but the 38-year-old 'tender robbed him with his pad to keep the game within reach.
With 10:48 remaining, the Oilers came oh-so-close to drawing within one. Andy Sutton stepped into a slapper at the near circle, but Howard went into the splits to make a sensational glove save, preserving his club's two-goal edge.
At 11:40, the Oilers went to the power-play when the home side was charged with too many men. The chance allowed the orange and blue to pull even on the shot clock (15-15), but were unable to manufacture a goal.
With 4:18 on the clock, Lidstrom, a seven-time Norris winner, cranked a shot that struck iron on Khabibulin's blocker side; while the crowd rose in celebration, the game remained in a 2-0 score.
Sutton was charged with high-sticking Detroit's Darren Helm at 19:45, putting the Red Wings on their fourth power-play attempt. 1:44, along with the home team's 2-0 lead, would be carried into the third period. With 40 minutes in the books, the Red Wings also held a slim 20-16 edge in shots.
Following a kill to start the period, the Oilers then went to the attack. A well-planned 2-on-1 chance emerged for Ryan Jones and Eric Belanger 2:10 in. No. 28 dished to veteran centre, but his one-time attempt caught Howard's blocker-side post.
At 3:07, Kronwall was charged with holding, putting the Oilers on their third power-play chance. The visitors peppered Howard with four shots, but were unable to solve the 27-year-old.
The parade to the box continued at 6:04 when the Oilers went back to the man-disadvantage; Tom Gilbert's interference minor put the Red Wings' 0-for-5 power-play back onto the ice. With 19 seconds remaining, the PP vaulted to a two-man advantage; Ryan Jones was assessed a minor for slashing.
Numerous saves by Khabibulin and a consistent box-out by the Oilers' D prevented the home side from damaging the scoreboard.
With 5:08 remaining, the Red Wings scored an insurance marker. Zetterberg and Valtteri Filppula broke in a 2-on-1 against Ladislav Smid. Detroit's No. 40 placed a well-executed saucer pass across, and Filppula connected with a backhand tip, putting his club up 3-0.
The remaining minutes elapsed without incident as the Oilers dropped a 3-0 score to the Red Wings in Detroit.