Goals by Theo Peckham and Sam Gagner helped the Oilers overcome a two-goal deficit early in the third period, but the Wings answered with two of their own to salvage a 5-3 victory Tuesday night. Gilbert Brule scored Edmonton's first goal, while Nikolai Khabibulin finished the game with 32 saves.
Edmonton and Detroit played over three minutes without testing either goaltender, but at 3:43, the Wings tallied the game's first shot and goal. From the top of the slot, Henrik Zetterberg converted a pass from Nicklas Lidstrom into a fierce slapshot that soared through a crowd and past Khabibulin, giving the visitors an early 1-0 lead.
The Wings attained a 6-2 shot advantage following the goal, but the Oilers tied the game on their third attempt. After receiving a feed from fellow call-up Linus Omark, Liam Reddox found himself past the goal line but managed to deliver a blind backhand centering pass to Brule. While flying up the slot, Brule employed a backhander himself, this time to bury the puck behind Chris Osgood, evening the score at one.
Detroit maintained the edge in attempts as the period wrapped up, but the 1-1 game remained intact. At the buzzer, Ladislav Smid was called for boarding, ensuring the Wings would start the second period with the game's first power-play.
The Oilers successfully killed Smid's two minutes, allowing only one power-play shot. 1:37 later, the odds favoured Edmonton as Justin Abdelkader was called for holding, but like Detroit, Edmonton's man-advantage was unproductive.
The Wings pounced once back at full strength. With 13:20 remaining in the frame, Todd Bertuzzi snagged the puck in the corner and surprised Khabibulin with a wraparound that slipped inside the goalie's right post and renewed Detroit's lead.
Four minutes later, the Wings jumped further ahead: After receving a bang-on pass from Darren Helm, Kris Draper deked Khabibulin and backhanded the puck across the line to make it 3-1. At that point, the visitors had 23 shots while the Oilers had nine.
Edmonton and Detroit traded power-plays in the frame's final five minutes, but penalty-killers and goaltenders dominated the man-advantages, preventing further scoring. After 40 minutes, the Oilers found themselves down two goals and trailing 28-15 on the shot clock.
A third Oilers power-play only 20 seconds into the third kept Edmonton on the attack. Although the club couldn't score during the man-advantage, defenceman Peckham got the job done three minutes later. After the puck passed from Ales Hemsky to Gagner behind the net, Peckham jumped up into the play, caught Gagner's feed, and quickly wristed it past Osgood to get the Oilers back within one.
The Wings topped 30 shots near the period's eight-minute mark, but the Oilers were the next to make one count. With 8:29 remaining in regulation, Gagner won an offensive-zone face-off and quickly fired on Osgood. The goalie couldn't react fast enough and the Oilers found themselves back on even territory.
Turns out that territory was dangerously unstable. In the game's final three minutes, Bertuzzi got his second of the game, followed 45 seconds later by Helm's first, making it 5-3 for Detroit.
The Oilers then opted for six skaters but couldn't overcome their two-goal deficit, resulting in a 5-3 loss and their seventh consecutive defeat.