DETROIT, MI - Thanks in large part to a two-goal second period from the home team, the Edmonton Oilers dropped a 3-0 decision to the Detroit Red Wings at the Joe Louis Arena on Thursday night.
Edmonton battled Detroit to a scoreless draw in period one and had their chances in the third but the Red Wings got some bounces in the middle frame while the Oilers couldn't generate a whole lot in front of Detroit goaltender Jimmy Howard.
"We were pleased with the first period. I thougth we had out-chanced them at the start and came into the room even trying to build on that and make that a positive with the 0-0 score and things feeling pretty good," said Krueger. "(After the 1-0 goal) for 10 minutes they just dominated us in every category. We lost our defensive coverage, we lost battles and in that time period the game was decided. They were able to pull it to 2-0."
While tied up in the slot, Jakub Kindl swatted at the puck and it managed to find its way through a crowd and beat Dubnyk through the five hole.
"On the 1-0 goal, we lose the battle in front of the puck. Two of our guys against Kindle and he puts it into the net and the game plan just disappeared," said Krueger.
Detroit extended its lead with 7:41 to play in the second. Cory Emmerton fired a rolling puck in the slot top corner past Dubnyk after a dominant series of chances from the Red Wings deep in the Edmonton zone.
The Red Wings did a remarkable job staying out of the penalty box as the Oilers had no power plays for the first time this season.
"We would have liked to have seen maybe a power play or two in the game but when you look at the whole picture here, there's no excuses for this one. We cannot stop playing for 10 minutes against the Detroit Red Wings and expect to get points and that's what happened here."
Six minutes into the second, Ales Hemsky blocked a shot on the side of his foot and went down injured. He managed to struggle back to his feet and played in the Oilers zone for another 30 seconds before skating gingerly to the bench. He then went to the Oilers dressing room for repairs.
"It's off the foot," said Krueger, when asked for a post-game update on Hemsky. "He's been x-rayed. It's not broken. We're probably dealing with a day-to-day bruise of some sort here. There's no saying how he's going to feel on this tomorrow. We have to ice it through the night and treat it and we hope that there's a shot still but it's going to be difficult for him in Nashville."
Shots on goal after 40 minutes were 23 to 13 for the host Red Wings but the Oilers did make a game of it in the third.
"I thought the team came back in the third and put in an effort, losing Hemsky took away a bit of our offensive punch but there was an effort there to try and get us back in the game but with the experience of Detroit there was not enough energy to resist that."
Johan Franzen nearly made it 3-0 six minutes into the final frame, firing a loose puck in the slot during a semi-broken play. Dubnyk kicked the puck out of harm's way, however.
Detroit spent a sequence of about 150 seconds where they cycled the puck deep in the Oilers zone burning precious seconds off the clock. The Oilers countered with some chances in the latter half of the third but could not convert.
Justin Abdelkader added an empty-net goal for Detroit with just over a minute to go.
The Oilers penalty killers were tested early in the game as Taylor Hall received two minutes for hooking only 54 seconds into the game but the Red Wings weren't able to generate much in the way of chances.
Edmonton's best chance early on came off the stick of Ales Hemsky, who cut in front of the Red Wings net and attempted a backhand shot five-hole. Jimmy Howard made a nice stop on the play.
Cory Emmerton had Detroit's best chance of the opening period, a wrist shot from the left circle. Like Hemsky, he also tried to go five-hole but Dubnyk did a good job smothering the puck without a rebound.
With just under three minutes to play in the period, Kyle Quincey had the puck at the top of the left circle and a clear lane to the net but wired it wide and out of the rink.
After one period of play, shots on goal were 8 to 6 in favour of Detroit.
Early in the middle frame, Mike Brown dropped the gloves with Jordin Tootoo in a quick but spirited bout. Brown got a bunch of quick punches in early in the fight to gain the edge.
Seconds later, Detroit scored to take a 1-0 lead.