Four quick goals and a good performance by Manny Legace let the Red Wings hang on against a late rally to tie the Edmonton Oilers, 4-4.
The Red Wings had a good chance to open the scoring early in the game when Oilers goalie Tommy Salo was assessed a penalty shot for throwing his stick while making a save against Brendan Shanahan. Shanahan’s shot didn’t get quite high enough off the ice, and Salo was able to stack his leg pads to make the save.
The Oilers opened the scoring midway through the first. Radek Dvorak cycled the puck behind the net. Raffi Torres was waiting on the left side. Pavel Datsyuk attempted to shove Torres out of the way, but was not able to do so before Dvorak completed the cross-crease pass and Torres put the puck in behind Manny Legace.
Edmonton increased their lead with 2:22 left in the period. Torres shot the puck on net from just behind the goal line. Legace made the save, but the rebound went out to Marc-Andre Bergeron on the right wing side. Bergeron took a wrist shot which went into the net.
Detroit played a more focused game in the second period, and were rewarded by scoring four goals in the space of 5:17. First they successfully weathered two penalties assessed to Jiri Hudler. Legace made some impressive saves, and Nicklas Lidstrom was right at the net to block the one save Legace wouldn’t have been able to make. Then Darren McCarty got the goals going.
McCarty received a pass from Kirk Maltby just inside the Oiler’s blue line. He shot the puck, using big defenseman Eric Brewer as a screen, and the puck reached the net at just the right height to sail over Salo’s shoulder.
A mistake cost the Oilers their lead. Alexei Semenov turned the puck over in front of his own net. To make matters worse, he gave it up to the NHL’s leading active goal scorer. Brett Hull skated the puck a little way towards the right boards before firing. Salo was sliding over, but he was being screened by Tomas Holmstrom, and the puck slid in underneath Salo’s left leg.
The Oilers, understandably, wanted their lead back. Legace had to make a huge save against Marty Reasoner at point blank range to keep Detroit’s momentum going.
Kris Draper moved Detroit into the lead. He carried the puck across Edmonton’s blue line, then made a back pass to Maltby. Maltby shot the puck from the left side, and Draper tipped it into the net.
Datsyuk increased the lead with a power play goal. The Oilers almost cleared the puck out of their zone, but Hull held it in at the blue line and made a pass to Datsyuk in the high slot. Datsyuk put a perfectly placed wrist shot just underneath the crossbar.
Both teams committed defensive turnovers in the third period, but the Oilers were the ones able to capitalize and score. Ales Hemsky added a power play goal with Mathieu Schneider in the penalty box for slashing. Chris Chelios cleared the puck away from the front of the net, but it took a strange bounce right back to Hemsky, who stuffed it in from behind the goal line.
Ethan Moreau tied the game up with only 3:57 left in regulation. Fernando Pisani squeezed past Shanahan to create a two-on-one rush. Schneider wasn’t able to take the passing lane away, so Pisani got the puck across for Moreau to scoop into the net.
Legace was the hero of the overtime period. The Oilers came out on the attack, but Legace made all five saves he needed to make so that the game would end in a tie.
Edmonton outshot Detroit by a count of 33 to 31. The Red Wings will continue their road trip when they face the Canucks Monday night in Vancouver.
Curtis Joseph slightly injured his groin during morning practice, which is why Legace got the start. Joseph played backup, and Dominik Hasek is still day-to-day with his own groin injury…. The last Red Wing to score on a penalty shot was Igor Larionov in 1995.