Well… Those were two points the Red Wings probably didn’t deserve.
Detroit did what Mike Babcock said they needed to do. They got out to a strong start and a big early lead. For the first 37 minutes of the game they absolutely dominated the Oilers, taking a 4-0 lead with a huge margin in shots.
Then it all fell apart.
Edmonton scored twice in 56 seconds to halve the lead in the final three minutes of the second, then added another just over three minutes into the third. The Oilers carried the play for the entire third period and it wasn’t even a surprise when Tom Gilbert tied things up.
In fact, the biggest surprise for me was that Brad Stuart‘s game-winning goal with a minute and change left in regulation was allowed to stand. I don’t think there was enough evidence to overturn it but it was extremely close and that feels like a call that usually goes against Detroit.
In a game where you give up a four goal lead, there’s a lot of blame to go around. The Wings stopped skating, stopped moving the puck, and stopped fighting along the boards. Everything they did to control the game in the first period they stopped doing.
They couldn’t clear their own zone. When they did, they couldn’t gain the Edmonton zone. When they managed to do that, Jeff Deslauriers made some phenomenal stops.
An example of how bad the Wings were playing was an attempted break-out late in the third. Tomas Holmstrom (I think) carries the puck out along the right wing and crosses it over to the left wing. The only problem? There is absolutely no one there. The puck bounces off the boards and down to the Edmonton crease. That is just a ridiculously sloppy play and was one of many the Wings made.
Meanwhile, Jimmy Howard had his first subpar outing in quite awhile. I feel like the second and third goals fall pretty heavily on him. On Mike Comrie’s goal to make it 4-2, it looked like Howard was indecisive and got caught in between moves, leaving his five-hole wide open. On the third Edmonton goal Howard was scrambling and way out of position, having dove head first to his left and being unable to get back to his right to stop Zack Stortini.
In the end, two points are two points but the Wings are gonna have to take a look at how they got them and decide if that’s good enough.
Combined with the Kings’ win over the Predators, the Red Wings are now one point back of Nashville with two games in hand. Los Angeles is one point back of Detroit while Colorado is four points back with a game in hand. Detroit is seven points back of fourth-place Phoenix and six points back of Central Division-leading Chicago, with the Blackhawks having a game in hand.