The Red Wings demonstrated tonight just why they are known for their depth, as they defeated the Edmonton Oilers 4-1 and improved their record to 8-1-0.
Control of the puck went back and forth between the two teams throughout the first period; however, the Red Wings outshot the Oilers badly, holding them to only two shots in the first twenty minutes.
Sergei Fedorov opened the scoring late in the first period. Edmonton’s Marty Reasoner received a penalty for high-sticking with 8:23 before the break. The power play unit kept control of the puck in the offensive zone, and Fedorov was able to pick up a blue line pass from Nicklas Lidstrom and rifle a shot past goalie Tommy Salo.
The Oilers got their first power play opportunity with just over a minute left to play in the first, when Kirk Maltby was given a penalty for roughing after the play. The Oilers couldn’t seem to get organized, and Yzerman and Brett Hull were able to get a breakaway scoring chance up the ice.
Detroit got another power play chance 4:31 into the second period when Jason Smith was penalized for roughing. This time, though, Edmonton’s penalty killers effectively shut down the power play’s passing.
The Red Wings’ next goal came on their very next power play. Smith was back in the box for roughing with 8:48 left in the period. Lidstrom passed the puck to Brendan Shanahan, who fired from the left point, and Tomas Holmstrom tipped the puck in underneath Salo.
Edmonton’s Anson Carter believed that he had scored on Dominek Hasek while Jiri Fischer was serving a holding penalty, but Carter stopped short and looked with disbelief into the empty net while Hasek calmly handed the puck back to the referee for the next faceoff.
The Oilers brought their number of shots up in the second, mainly due to a total of three penalties to Fischer throughout the period. Still, they remained scoreless after two.
Detroit took back control of the game in the third period. Just two-and-a-half minutes in, Lidstrom got the puck to Igor Larionov on a three-on-one rush. Larionov passed to Luc Robitaille, who took the puck at the height of its bounce and flipped it past Salo.
The young “3-D Line” also managed to make their presence felt. Pavel Datsyuk stole the puck from the Oilers at their own blue line, and passed over to Mathieu Dandenault. Dandenault lured both the defense and the goalie towards him, then passed back to Boyd Devereaux, who slid the puck into the wide open net.
Edmonton decided at that point to pull Salo from the net and send in rookie Ty Conklin to take his place. With barely ten minutes left to play, it did not provide enough momentum to help the Oilers come back, but it apparently inspired them to take away Hasek’s first potential shutout as a Red Wing. With just 5:15 left in the game, Sean Brown was able to get the puck past Detroit’s well-screened goalie.
Shanahan, Fedorov, Robitaille, and Yzerman all continued their scoring streaks. Shanahan is still the current scoring leader in the NHL. Hasek stopped 27 of 28 shots, Salo stopped 26 of 30, and Conklin stopped 7 of 7.
The Red Wings will finish their five-game homestand Friday night against the Dallas Stars.