The Red Wings caused the Edmonton Oilers’ playoff hopes to dwindle even further on Monday night. The Oilers are seven points out of a playoff spot, stuck in 11th place in the Western Conference and fighting for every point they can get, but Manny Legace’s goaltending and Kris Draper’s 5th shorthanded goal of the season denied them the opportunity.
The Red Wings pressured the Oilers early in the game. Brendan Shanahan had two very good scoring chances against Edmonton goalie Tommy Salo. His first one rang off the inside of the goalpost but didn’t cross the line, and his second hit the goaltender square in the chest.
The Oilers began to reverse the pressure after awhile, and the Red Wings caught their lucky break of the game. Legace made a glove save against Ales Hemsky while sprawled on the ice. Video replay showed that Legace’s glove was across the goal line, but the puck was not visible at all in the shot. Without conclusive sight of the puck crossing the line, the video officials had to confirm the on-ice ruling of no goal.
Draper opened the scoring with 6:23 left in the first period, in spite of the fact that the Oilers were on the power play. Detroit had cleared the puck deep into the Edmonton zone, and Kirk Maltby stripped the puck away from Eric Brewer behind Salo’s net. Maltby centered the pass to Draper coming up through the high slot, and Draper one-timed a shot which beat Salo high.
The Oilers had 17 shots to the Wings’ 8 after the first period, but Detroit completely dominated the second. They held the puck in the Oilers’ zone for the most part, and they did not allow their opponents a single shot on goal through the entire twenty minutes of play.
Even with all that time on attack, Salo only allowed one goal. Mathieu Schneider picked up a pass from Henrik Zetterberg, deked around a defenseman, delayed his shot until Salo committed to a low save, then put the puck high under the crossbar.
The Oilers’ offense came back for the end of the game. Legace had to be quick several times, especially early in the period when Georges Laraque had a near-breakaway.
Edmonton got on the scoreboard during a power play with Chris Chelios in the box for cross-checking. Jarret Stoll came down the left wing side with no one covering him, and he was able to get to the rebound from Laraque’s shot to slide the puck underneath Legace.
The Oilers pulled Salo for an extra skater with just under a minute to go, but the Red Wings kept the puck away from them well enough that they weren’t able to force overtime.
Legace made 29 saves on 30 shots, while Salo left the game with 24 saves on 26 shots.
The Red Wings’ next game will be Wednesday night when the Phoenix Coyotes come to the Joe.
Draper’s fifth shorthanded goal moves him into second place in shorthanded scoring this season. The leader is Tampa Bay’s Martin St. Louis, who has seven”¦. Mathieu Dandenault played center for the first time in his NHL career, between Steve Thomas and Darren McCarty. Thomas was heard jokingly referring to their new line as the “Donut Line” (nothing in the middle)”¦. The second period was only the third time in franchise history that the Oilers have had no shots in a period.