EDMONTON – It was beginning to look like rookie goalie Devan Dubynk would never get this first NHL win.
The Edmonton Oilers were winning 2-1 and holding on for dear life in the final minutes when Detroit’s Brian Rafalski beat Dubnyk on a mad scramble in front of the net with just 0.2 seconds left and sent the game to overtime.
But Gilbert Brule came through with the shootout winner as the Oilers beat the Red Wings 3-2 Friday to help Dubnyk get his first win in 14 appearances this season.
“It didn’t feel good,” Dubnyk said. “I mean it was pretty crazy how they got one with .02 seconds or whatever it was. I tried not to think ‘Oh no! How is this happening?’
“I just tried to tell myself to not let anything get by me in the five-minute overtime and try to win the shootout.”
Detroit’s goal left Oilers head coach Pat Quinn shaking his head.
“We did what a bottom place team does, we backed off and gave them lots of room at the end,” he said. “Dubnyk was really good, in the third period especially. You never think a puck is going to go in with less than a second left. But we’ve had that happen to us earlier this season as well.
“But at the end of the night it was thankfully a great result for him. I think everybody is really happy for him.”
Potulny also scored in the shootout session for the Oilers, while Jason Williams replied for the Wings.
The point for the Red Wings was crucial as it prevented the Calgary Flames from moving past Detroit into sole possession of eighth place in the Western Conference after their 4-3 win over San Jose. Calgary and Detroit are tied for eighth place in the West with 81 points, though the Red Wings have a game in hand.
“That was a huge point for us. We have to feel good about that,” said Detroit head coach Mike Babcock. “We didn’t play well enough at the start. They were quick and we were slow so they were better.
“The playoff race is a grind and you have to go out there and do the best you can every day. Anytime you leave it to the end like we have, you have to grind it out all the way.”
Rafalski said the Wings will take the point from his last-second goal, even if adding an extra one in the shootout would have been better.
“It’s definitely a point gained the way it came,” he said. “We couldn’t have waited any longer to score than we did. We had possession of the puck for 95 per cent of the overtime. They made some nice penalty shots and we couldn’t finish.”
Andrew Cogliano and Ryan Whitney scored for the last-place Oilers (22-42-7) who snapped a five-game losing streak. Brule added two assists.
Patrick Eaves also scored for the Red Wings (34-23-13) who had a three game winning streak come to an end.
Edmonton opened the scoring 57 seconds in as Brule made a backhanded pass in front to Cogliano who had a wide open net to shoot at.
Edmonton made it 2-0 five minutes in as Cogliano fed the puck through traffic to a pinching Whitney, who scored his first goal as an Oiler since coming over in a trade deadline deal from Anaheim.
The Oilers had 16 first period shots at Detroit goalie Jimmy Howard while the Wings fired nine shots at Dubnyk.
The Red Wings cut the lead in half at 11:51 of the second period. From behind the Edmonton goal, Kris Draper saw Eaves streaking towards the net and set him up for his 11th of the season.
Detroit finishes off a three-game road trip in Vancouver on Saturday while Edmonton will next play host to the San Jose Sharks on Sunday.
Notes: It was the third meeting of the season between the two teams, with Edmonton winning both of the previous matches. Detroit swept the four-game season series last year… Edmonton’s magic number to finish last is a combination of their own losses and Toronto wins now equalling just six… Edmonton entered the game at a franchise record 425 man games lost to injury. The previous high was 346, set in 2007-08… After scoring his second period goal, Patrick Eaves would later leave the game with an upper body injury and did not return… Detroit left winger Kirk Maltby (shoulder) is now on long-term injured reserve after right shoulder surgery, which will keep him out four to six weeks, leaving any chance of a return dependent on a deep playoff run… The Wings, who came into the match occupying the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference, haven’t missed the playoffs since 1989-90, the longest streak in the NHL… It was Howard’s 17th straight start for the Wings.