EDMONTON, AB - Jordan Eberle tied the game with under five minutes remaining, but Detroit scored two goals in the final minute to take a 4-2 victory at Rexall Place.
“I don’t think we played well enough to deserve two points to begin with,” Eberle said. “The only reason we were in that one was (Viktor Fasth) standing on his head. We just have to be better. I didn’t think we executed well and I didn’t think we got much of a forecheck, not to mention that we were a little undisciplined throughout the game. Vik gave us a chance to get some points and we let him down.”
At 10:43 of the first, with Detroit on a power play, a failed attempt to clear the puck fell into the lap of a waiting Tomas Tatar. Luckily for the Oilers, the Red Wing rifled a shot off the right post. They’d kill off the penalty to keep it a scoreless game.
Later in the frame, the Oilers had a 5-on-3 opportunity for 53 seconds, following Danny Dekeyser’s firing of the puck into the stands on the penalty kill. With 11 seconds remaining on the two-man advantage, Eberle was robbed by the glove of Jimmy Howard.
Eberle would taste sweet redemption after the 5-on-3 expired, when he scored from virtually the same spot as the previous chance. Eberle’s power play goal was assisted by Jeff Petry and Anton Lander, at 15:29 of the first.
That goal marked the fourth time in their last five games, and seventh in their last 10, that the Oilers have scored first.
Detroit tied the game at 10:44 of the second period, courtesy of Kyle Quincey who was assisted by Justin Abdelkader.
With 5:50 left in the second, Rob Klinkhammer of the Oilers collided with Detroit’s Johan Franzen in the neutral zone. There was a delay in play, but no penalties were dished out to either team.
A turning point came with less than two minutes to play in the second. Eberle got called for tripping at 18:20 and just nine seconds into the power play, Abdelkader tipped in a shot from Niklas Kronwall, with Pavel Datsyuk getting the second assist. The goal gave Detroit their first lead of the night, 2-1.
Benoit Pouliot was called for spearing, a double minor, at 17:31, which gave the Red Wings the late-game man advantage.
“I just lost it I guess and retaliated in a way that I shouldn’t have,” Pouliot said. “It’s just frustrating. I feel shame obviously, coming in here and seeing the guys going all out all night and I do something so ridiculous at the end. I can’t take it back now, I’ve just got to move on from it and learn that it was so stupid.”
Datsyuk scored a power play goal on Viktor Fasth with 34 seconds remaining, taking the wind from the Oilers sails and securing a victory for Detroit.
Fasth finished the game with 37 saves however, giving the Oilers a shot at the game.
“Viktor gave us a chance to win, I thought he had a very strong game and once we scored that second goal we started to come,” Oilers Interim Coach Todd Nelson said. “Then we we got down shorthanded and on that goal, I think we put it into our own net. Those things happen, but we’ve got to learn from it and move on. There is a lot of positive things going on, so we have to recharge and get ready for a game on Friday.”
The Red Wings added an empty-net goal to make it 4-2. They now have points in 28 of their last 29 meetings against the Oilers and have won seven straight games in the series.