The Detroit Red Wings carried a two-goal lead into the third period Monday night but couldn’t hold off a comeback by Edmonton, falling to the Oilers, 4-3. The loss eliminates the Red Wings from the playoffs.
It marks the third time in five years that Detroit exits the postseason in the opening round and the fourth time in five years that the Red Wings didn’t advance to the Conference Finals.
The Red Wings seemed in control early, dominating the game and opening the scoring with 5:24 remaining in the first period with a highlight-reel goal by Henrik Zetterberg.
After a weak pass by a falling Mikael Samuelsson failed to get the puck to Zetterberg, he stepped up on defenseman Jaroslav Spacek to poke the puck away from him. Zetterberg then picked it back up and skated around goalie Dwayne Roloson, shooting into a mostly-open net.
The Red Wings extended their lead with 5:58 remaining in the second period when Robert Lang scored on a power play.
In a set play that had worked all season but had yet to yield results in the playoffs, Lang sent the puck from the left wing boards down to Steve Yzerman at the bottom of the left circle before cutting to the slot. Yzerman sent the puck back to him for a one-timer that snuck through and put Detroit up by two.
The Oilers pulled to within one at 2:56 of the third period when Fernando Pisani banged in the rebound of a Jarret Stoll shot on an Edmonton power play. Just 3:44 later, Pisani added another to even the game, faking out Detroit netminder Manny Legace and putting the puck between his legs on an Edmonton rush.
Ales Hemsky‘s disputed power play goal with 3:53 evened the score again. A shot on net was deflected down to Hemsky with what appeared to be a high stick. Then, after banging away at the puck a couple of times, Hemsky looked to have kicked it into the net. After replay, the goal was allowed to stand.
Hemsky scored again with 1:06 remaining, giving the Oilers the only lead they needed on a tip in from the side of the crease.
Two of Edmonton’s six power plays yielded goals while Detroit scored only once on their four tries on the night.
Legace made 26 saves on 30 shots against but Roloson stopped 33 of the 36 shots he faced.
The winner of the Calgary – Anaheim series will determine Edmonton’s next opponent. Should Calgary win, the Oilers will be hosted by the Flames. Should Anaheim win, the Mighty Ducks will host the Colorado Avalanche and the San Jose Sharks will host the Oilers.
Detroit captain Steve Yzerman returned to the lineup for what is expected to have been the final game of his career. Goaltender Chris Osgood was scratched for the third game in a row.