EDMONTON, Alberta -- The Red Wings' fans have been waiting all month to see their team play against a "normal" team (as in, not the Avs) with as much jump and energy as they had in the second and third period against the Edmonton Oilers. They won two-thirds of the faceoffs. They outshot and outscored the Oilers by a large margin, and their passing was excellent. It was a wonderful, dominating performance, the sort of game we would expect from the defending Stanley Cup Champions. There was just one problem.
The Oilers won anyway, 4-3 in overtime.
Edmonton came out with a lot of enthusiasm to start the game and really controlled the first period. They started off the scoring with a goal by Anson Carter. Mike York made the first shot, and Curtis Joseph made the first save. Carter came out from behind the net to get the puck and put it in through Joseph's five-hole.
Another defensive breakdown by Detroit led to the Oilers' second goal. Dan Cleary won a battle for the puck in the corner and centered the puck. Jani Rita got to it before anyone could stop him. He took the extra second to wait for Joseph to drop to block the expected low shot, then put the puck high.
The Red Wings managed to slow the game down enough to keep the Oilers from scoring again, but they didn't really take charge of the game until the second period. As soon as the second period started, they looked like a completely different team than they had in the first. Detroit applied its considerable offensive pressure in the Edmonton zone, and goalie Jussi Markkanen had to come up with some large saves to hold onto the lead.
Detroit got on the board with two skillful power plays. Igor Larionov scored the first goal 7:34 into the period. Jason Woolley made the pass from the blue line to Henrik Zetterberg behind the net. Zetterberg passed out front to Brett Hull, who took the shot. Larionov then banged at the rebound until it went in- an unusual role for him, but it got the goal.
The Red Wings then got the golden opportunity of a five-on-three power play with Todd Marchant and Ethan Moreau both in the penalty box. Sergei Fedorov won the draw and got the puck back to Nicklas Lidstrom. Lidstrom passed across to Hull, who one-timed the shot into the small space between Markkanen and his short side goalpost for his 20th goal of the season and the 699th goal of his career.
The Red Wings continued their dominant play into the third period, even during a slashing penalty to Dmitri Bykov. Marchant mishandled the puck at the blue line, and Kirk Maltby poked it through to Kris Draper, flying up the ice. Draper got the shot off and into the net just before he was taken down by Eric Brewer.
Unfortunately, the Red Wings relaxed for just 30 seconds after the shorthanded goal, and that was all the Oilers needed to tie the game back up. Carter got through and made a shot on net which deflected up and over Joseph's leg pads.
Markkanen had to continue his excellent game, as the Wings continued pressing, all the way to overtime and part of the way into it. The puck took a bad bounce for Detroit, though, sending Brewer and Jason Chimera up on a two-on-one rush. Mathieu Dandenault took the passing lane away, and Zetterberg tried to get back to help, but Joseph had come out of the net too far, and Brewer got the puck around him and into the net.
The final count of shots on net was 39-22 in Detroit's favor. The Red Wings will continue their road trip with a Friday night stop in Vancouver to play the Canucks.
Notes: Brett Hull's 20th goal of the season moves him into the lead in team goal scoring.... Kris Draper's goal was the Red Wings' 10th shorthanded goal of the year, which moved the team back into the lead for shorthanded goals. The Columbus Blue Jackets are in second with nine.