Sam Gagner scored a pair and added an assist, propelling the Oilers to a 3-1 third-period lead; but the Red Wings weren't done, scoring three straight to take the lead and push the home side to the brink. Jordan Eberle tied it up with only 38 seconds to play, setting the stage to yet another dramatic conclusion.
Gagner and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins each scored in the shootout, while Devan Dubnyk made a thrilling stop on Dan Cleary in the competition's sixth round, sending the hometown crowd to the exits with a smile in a 5-4 win Saturday night on Hockey Night in Canada.
On a rush spearheaded by Thursday's hero, Sam Gagner, Taylor Hall drew a penalty when Dan Cleary chopped him down in Detroit's zone, putting the Oilers' 21.4-percent power-play to work. Shorthanded, Darren Helm was sent in alone on a breakaway, but Devan Dubnyk made a spectacular save to preserve the scoreless tie.
Moments later, Ryan Smyth was sprung on a similar play, but his attempt sailed wide. Gagner, looking to make amends and embark on another record-(perhaps) breaking night, cashed on a goalmouth rebound opportunity moments later to put the home side up 1-0 at 2:42.
2:59 later, Gagner did it again; engineering a goal-line backhand on an suspecting Ty Conklin, the puck pinballed in the crease, allowing Jordan Eberle to pounce for the tap-in and to register his 21st goal of the season.
With 11:24 on the clock, Ales Hemsky -- whose head was down all the way -- was met with a train. Detroit's Niklas Kronwall pinched in and leveled the 28-year-old with a vicious (but clean), bone-crunching hit. Corey Potter jumped to his teammate's aide, dropping the mitts and picking up a double-minor for roughing in the process.
While Hemsky skated off under his own power, the skilled winger was quickly assessed by Head Athletic Therapist T.D. Forss before being escorted to the locker room. He did return to the game later in the period.
The Red Wings' advantage was pushed to a 5-on-3 when Ladislav Smid was assessed a boarding minor shortly into the power-play. Rexall Place came alive as Devan Dubnyk stopped four Wings shots, helping the Oilers kill the lengthy disadvantage as the period's 10-minute mark passed.
At 18:05, Ben Eager and Mike Commodore engaged in a spirited tilt. No. 55 got off a slow start, but rebounded well, deliviering several late-round shots to the veteran blueliner's lid. At the same stoppage, Tomas Holmstrom was assessed a hooking minor, putting the orange and blue's man-advantage back to the ice.
With 41 seconds remaining in it, the Red Wings got on the board with an unusual and ill-timed shorthanded marker. Valterri Filppula's weak wrister was directed in off Ryan Whitney's skate, past an ill-prepared Dubnyk to cut the Oilers' lead.
Still on the power-play, mind you, Gagner corrected it. With 0.1 seconds on the clock, Ryan Smyth's side-board shot attempt was tipped home by No. 89, putting the home side back up by two and amassing a 20-minute, three-point night for the Oilers' resurgent star.
Through 20 minutes, the orange and blue held a 3-1 lead while the visitors carried a 13-9 advantage in shots.
Having allowed three goals on nine shots, Conklin took a seat to start the second period. Joey MacDonald stepped in to take his place between Detroit's pipes.
2:34 in, Ryan Whitney was charged with a questionable hooking penalty. Just like the Wings' earlier opportunity, the Oilers bounced the attack, blocking three and not allowing any shots to penetrate the box and reach the goaltender.
As the period's 10-minute mark approached, bad blood continued to boil. Cam Barker attempted to lay a hit on Holstrom and, instead of taking the contact, the Wings veteran clotheslined No. 13 and dragged him to the ice. Eager stepped in and grabbed a dance partner, earning a roughing minor along with earlier combatant Commodore.
Also in the melee, Holstrom's neck-drag move put the Oilers back on the power-play, but nothing too dangerous was generated.
With 40 minutes expired, the Oilers continued to lead 3-1 as the Red Wings held a slim 23-22 edge on the shot clock.
2:18 into the period, Detroit got a step closer. On the team's 26th shot, a Henrik Zetterberg wraparound proved unsuccessful, but Todd Bertuzzi was quick to the scene, jamming the puck through Dubnyk's wickets as the puck slowly crawled across the line.
Having dominated the early portion of the period, the Red Wings pulled even at 5:49. With the Oilers running around, Helm spotted an eager Drew Miller patrolling the slot; with a quick centering pass, Miller one-timed the the puck past the sprawling netminder to square the score, 3-3.
Looking to regain the lead, Taylor Hall nearly made it happen when, with the crease crashed with bodies, he pulled swooped into the slot and rifled a wrister on goal. MacDonald stood tall, denying the opportunity with a quick right-toe save.
Detroit's unrelenting attack continued late, and it eventually propelled the visitors to a one-goal lead at 16:19. On the rush, Bertuzzi raced in and danced around Andy Sutton, then stepping up to pick on the corner on Dubnyk to secure the goal.
The Oilers pulled Dubnyk with 52 seconds to play, and the home side wasted little time in making it a 4-4 game. With the puck bouncing around in the crease, Eberle pounced and popped the puck behind MacDonald with only 38 seconds on the clock, sending the game to overtime.
Corey Potter and Ryan Smyth nearly orchestrated with the winner with the rangy rearguard dish to No. 94 at the doorstep, but the veteran's connection caught iron; and Potter's rebound chance was scooped up by the diving netminder, keeping the extra period in play.
Hall, Nugent-Hopkins and Whitney came close, too, moments later on an odd-man rush, but MacDonald -- with the help of Lidstrom -- made a sensational denial to put the game in a shootout.
It took six rounds to decide a winner, but the Oilers came out on top. Sam Gagner notched a goal with an unbelievable move, undressing MacDonald to score the shootout's opening goal. Todd Bertuzzi sent the shootout to an extra round when he scored in the third, sending a well-placed slapper upstairs on Dubnyk. The next three shooters were stopped, which set the stage for returnee Ryan Nugent-Hopkins to tally the winner.
No. 93 broke in with speed, deked and snapped a shoter blocker-side on MacDonald, pushing Detroit to the brink. Dan Cleary needed to score, but the Oilers' sophomore goalie held his ground, turning the shot aside and earning the orange and blue's third straight win.
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