Marc Lamothe made 29 saves on 30 shots in his debut as a Red Wing, holding off the Edmonton Oilers to allow Detroit to come back for a 1-1 tie.
The Oilers’ game plan was to test Lamothe early, hope he was nervous, and try to get as many shots against him as possible. It worked””at least, it got them on the board early. Georges Laraque carried the puck around the net, muscling Mathieu Schneider out of the way as he skated. Laraque threw the puck across the goal crease. Jason Chimera was waiting at the other side of the net in perfect position to bank the puck past Lamothe.
Lamothe looked a little shaky on a few of the saves he had to make after giving up his first goal. He seemed to have a hard time getting his glove on the puck and covering up rebounds, but he settled in as the game went by. Lamothe kept the Oilers from going up by a pair with a big leg pad save against Shawn Horcoff with 3:50 left in the first.
Tommy Salo was no slouch at the other end of the ice. He scrambled to keep a low shot by Steve Yzerman out of the net. The play was reviewed, and the officials determined that Salo’s leg pad just barely blocked the puck from crossing the goal line.
Detroit thought they had tied up the game on a goal by Brendan Shanahan late in the second, but the referee instead called an interference penalty on Tomas Holmstrom for keeping Salo from getting back into the goal crease, so the goal was disallowed.
Nicklas Lidstrom finally tied the game up for Detroit with only 7:04 left in regulation. Yzerman’s pass to the right faceoff dot was bouncing horribly, but Lidstrom didn’t care. With the flat of his stick against the the flat of the puck, he slung the puck towards the net and right past Salo.
Brett Hull, Pavel Datsyuk, and Jiri Fischer had a good passing play in overtime which could have ended the game had Hull’s shot reached the net, but the puck was bouncing strangely and the Oilers were able to get it away. Lamothe had to be sharp to make saves on Eric Brewer and Ethan Moreau to keep the game a tie.
The Oilers outshot the Red Wings 30 to 26.
The Red Wings continue their western road trip with a game against the Vancouver Canucks Tuesday night.
Curtis Joseph skated on his injured ankle today. He is expected to return sometime next week. Manny Legace will likely get the start in the remaining games before Joseph’s return…. Derian Hatcher’s knee is healing nicely, and he is still on schedule to return on or about March 8.