The Edmonton Oilers finally returned home after a 17 day, 9 game road trip. They put in a great effort the past two games and managed to turn their losing streak around. They faced the Detroit Red Wings at Rexall Place, looking to build upon their streak of two wins after shutting out the Colorado Avalanche on Tuesday night.
The Oilers seemed to enjoy their home court advantage, as they started out strong with Taylor Hall scoring a few minutes into the first period, assisted by Shawn Horcoff and Ales Hemsky. In fact, five minutes into the first period, the Red Wings surprisingly still had zero shots on goal.
Statistically, the Oilers were winless in their last eleven home returns from road trips, but Hall’s goal established an early lead and the situation looked promising. A lot of Detroit’s top players seemed to be slumping a bit, as Detroit was coming off a losing streak – their last win being their March 7 shut out against the Oilers.
Both teams failed to convert power plays in the first period, but the game started out with a good rhythm and pace. Edmonton outshot Detroit 10 to 5 in the first period and seemed to be controlling the game well.
The second period started with a beautiful play by Magnus Paajarvi, shortly followed by a breathtaking effort by Hemsky, both of which Red Wings goalie Jimmy Howard saved.
Halfway through the period Mike Brown and Jordin Tootoo met again in a fight, where Brown was once more able to show off his quick punches. He may be fairly new to the team, but Mike Brown has proven to always bring a contagious level of energy – it shouldn’t be forgotten that he was the one to shift the tide, scoring the goal against Chicago which broke the Oilers’ two game scoreless streak.
The Oilers successfully protected their 1-0 lead, and with a few minutes left in the second period Hall aggressively got the puck loose and stayed with it, making a fantastic assist to Sam Gagner, who scored on the rebound and increased Edmonton’s lead.
Things looked great for the Oilers entering the third period, but Detroit wasn’t relishing the idea of adding to their losing streak, and they began to push back.
Detroit’s Valtteri Filppula got a backhand goal shortly into the third period, bringing the Red Wings back into the game. The real misfortune was the power-play goal that Detroit got with five minutes to go on the rebound after Dubnyk failed to control the puck. While credited to Niklas Kronwall, the goal that tied the game was unfortunately hit in by the Oilers’ own Jeff Petry.
In a post-game interview, Petry said that “I saw the puck and my first reaction was to put my stick on the ice…I had forward momentum and it ended up in the net.” Teammate Smid, when asked about the goal, stated “stuff like this? It happens”; Coach Ralph Krueger said that “it’s a tough one for Jeff but it’s the team that takes responsibility, not the individual.”
The Red Wings’ Pavel Datsyuk scored in overtime with a snap shot, assisted by Henrik Zetterberg, ending the game with a score of 3-2.
The Oilers played well the first two periods, but Detroit was nevertheless able to rally and devour Edmonton’s lead. Hall, who really shone this game with a hand in both the Oilers’ goals, said that “we played with a lot of intensity in the first and second periods but in the third we just sat back. We can’t do that.”
While it would have been nice for the Oilers to achieve a three-win streak, at least they still get a point for managing to keep the Red Wings at a tie until overtime. They will be facing the Nashville Predators on Sunday, March 17.