One of the advertisements painted on the boards at the Skyreach Centre reads, “What’s your dream?” Judging from the smile on Boyd Devereaux‘s face as he celebrated a goal in front of that very sign, no one needs to be told what his dream is: he’s living it now. With a goal and an assist, Devereaux was instrumental in helping the Red Wings to defeat the Edmonton Oilers, 2-1.
Both teams came in to the game seeking to increase the energy of their play and turn things around. The Red Wings came in winless in their past four, while the Oilers came winless in their past three.
The energy level for both clubs was high throughout the first period, with each team carrying the play to the other team’s zone and trying to create hard work for the goaltenders, Dominik Hasek and Tommy Salo. However, it was Edmonton who scored the first goal of the game, with 9:31 left in the first. Anson Carter picked up the rebound from Mike Comrie’s shot, and sent it into the net behind Hasek.
The second period continued the energy and intense play. The Red Wings had two power play opportunities during penalties to Georges Laraque and Steve Staios, but the equalizing goal came at even strength. Just under seven minutes into the second period, Nicklas Lidstrom took a shot from the blue line. Salo was able to block it, but Devereaux grabbed up the rebound, pulled it back towards himself, and stuffed it into the net behind Salo to score the Red Wings’ one-hundredth goal of the season.
Edmonton began to apply strong pressure in the third period, managing to clog up their own blue line and force the Red Wings to dump the puck into the zone rather than carrying it in.
Even so, Devereaux came up for his team again. He stole the puck away in a tussle with Eric Brewer behind the Edmonton net, and managed to pass it out to Chris Chelios at the blue line. Chelios fired hard, Steve Yzerman redirected the puck, and scored his first goal in eight games.
The Oilers pulled Salo from the net with just under a minute left to play. They got another break when Chelios was given a penalty for high-sticking with only twenty-one seconds left in the game. Hasek didn’t let anything past, and Brendan Shanahan made a highly effective diving play to clear away the puck and any other objects in his path, just before the buzzer signaled the end of the game and the end of the Red Wings’ winless streak.
Hasek stopped twenty-two of twenty-three shots, and Salo managed to stop twenty-seven of the twenty-nine that were sent against him. Both teams were scoreless on the power play.
Detroit will finish up its road trip Saturday night in Vancouver.