Red Wings overcome mistakes
A defensive gaffe led to an Edmonton goal with 9.5 seconds on the second-period clock. What had been a 3-1 Detroit lead was now a one-goal game.
Andreas Lilja gambled, pinching in the neutral zone. The puck got deep into the Detroit zone where Brett Lebda and Kris Draper double-teamed an Oiler, leaving Andrew Cogliano -- who last season was third in scoring at the University of Michigan -- open for a back-door slam.
How upset was the coaching staff?
"Let's just say we're not going to do that any more," said coach Mike Babcock.
The goal was a déjà vu moment for the Red Wings, who led Chicago 3-1 in their previous game before a neutral-zone pinch led to one goal.
"We gave up one exactly like that in Chicago where the 'D' pinches up in the neutral zone," said Babcock. "We have a rule here … the 'D' doesn't pinch up, he gaps up (closes the gap with an opponent, but doesn't let him pass). … You just put yourself in a bad spot. It makes no sense. It got them back in the game … a game that I thought territorially was going our way."
That Saturday game in Chicago eventually went to a shootout. The Red Wings fared better last night, making that late second-period goal the last goal they surrendered.
Edmonton had the only two power plays of the third period, but the Oilers managed just two shots combined. The only goal of the third came with 32.9 seconds on the clock. Henrik Zetterberg outworked a pair of Oilers along the boards in Detroit's zone, sending a pass to Pavel Datsyuk between the faceoff circles. Datsyuk skated the puck to the red line before dumping it over to Kris Draper for an empty-net goal.
That made for a quiet locker room after the game -- something that the players much prefer to a coach's wrath.
Detroit (2-0-1) opened the scoring 6:51 into the game with its first 5-on-5 goal of the young season.
Mikael Samuelsson made Edmonton goalie Dwayne Roloson look bad when he found a short-side gap on a wraparound.
The Red Wings doubled their advantage with 5:50 left in the first period at the very second that a penalty to Dustin Penner expired. Chris Chelios, who drew the penalty, dropped down low and banged three times at a loose puck before finally putting it past Roloson. The goal was the first for Chelios in 77 games with his previous marker coming Apr. 8, 2006.
Edmonton netted its first goal just 19 seconds later when former Michigan State star Shawn Horcoff found himself alone in the slot for a one-timer that beat Dominik Hasek. On the play, first Lidstrom then Brian Rafalski followed their marks into the corner and Dan Cleary was late in getting to Horcoff.
"We're playing well offensively," said Detroit captain Nicklas Lidstrom. "Defensively, we can do a better job, sort it out better. That's something we can work on."
The Red Wings took a 3-1 lead 27 seconds into the second period when Tomas Holmstrom scored a power-play goal. He has one such goal in each of Detroit's three games.
The play started with a Lidstrom slap shot that was deflected in the high slot by Zetterberg. Holmstrom deflected it again down low, the put in the rebound of Roloson's save.
"Pretty evident is we're not scoring the way we're going to," said Babcock. "We had lots of opportunities … numerous, numerous opportunities … and didn't finish. We just got to keep working and finding a way to win. … We need some 5-on-5 scoring."