DETROIT – Nothing has come easy this season for the Detroit Red Wings against the Edmonton Oilers, the NHL’s worst team.
Brad Stuart scored with 1:07 left to lift the Red Wings to a 5-4 win over the Oilers on Tuesday night after Detroit blew a 4-0 second-period lead. It was Detroit’s first win against Edmonton in four games this season.
“They’ve got a lot of young guys trying to prove themselves and want to stay on the team next year so you can’t count them out each game,” said Drew Miller, who scored in the first period for the Red Wings. “They might be out of the playoffs but they’re fighting for other things and they’re trying to fight hard for a spot.”
Johan Franzen had a goal and an assist, while Andreas Lilja and Nicklas Kronwall also scored for Detroit, which won its season-high sixth straight. Jimmy Howard stopped 22 shots and Pavel Datsyuk and Tomas Holmstrom each had two assists.
“It was one of those nights for us,” Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said. “Obviously we had the game totally in control and when you stop playing a little bit and make some mistakes, suddenly the other team gets going. It’s a real good lesson for us.”
Tom Gilbert scored twice, Mike Comrie added a goal and an assist, and Zack Stortini also scored for Edmonton. Jeff Deslauriers made 39 saves and Andrew Cogliano had two assists.
“They’re not really what you would call a physical team, so our guys know they’re probably not going to get into a physical battle like against other teams,” Oilers coach Pat Quinn said about his team’s success against the Red Wings.
Stuart tipped Datsyuk’s shot out of the air and past Deslauriers for his third goal. The play went to video replay to check if Stuart’s stick was high.
“I didn’t know. I was pretty uncertain. As soon as it happened I wasn’t sure it was going to go,” Stuart said. “The thing we had going for us is they did call it a goal on the ice. You look at all the replays, it’s tough to say one way or the other so the call has to stand, I guess.”
Deslauriers didn’t think it was a good goal.
“I’m 6-4 and I was jumping in the air,” he said. “The last time I checked, the goal was four feet high. I can’t do anything about that.”
Gilbert’s second goal of the game, with 9:30 left in regulation, tied it at 4. He put in a one-time shot from the left circle for his fifth goal.
Stortini’s wraparound goal made it 4-3 3:03 into the third period. It was his fourth goal.
Detroit led 3-0 after the first period.
Detroit opened the scoring when Valtteri Filppula’s soft shot from the top of the left circle deflected in off of Lilja as he skated past the crease. The goal was originally credited to Filppula 6:38 into the game, but was changed during the first intermission.
“It hit my jersey. I didn’t feel it,” Lilja said.
Kronwall made it 2-0 with 5:38 left in the first period for his sixth, scoring on a one-time snap shot from the slot. Miller put in a loose puck from the slot for his 10th goal to cap the period with 27 seconds left.
Franzen’s power-play goal with 3:29 left in the second period made it 4-0. He got his 10th goal on a one-time shot from the slot.
But Edmonton scored twice in 56 seconds to cut it to 4-2 at the end of two periods.
Gilbert’s first goal, on the power play, put the Oilers on the scoreboard with 2:58 left in the period. Comrie then came down the left wing, faked a slap shot from the circle and slid a shot between Howard’s pads for his ninth goal.
NOTES: Detroit F Dan Cleary missed his second game because of a sore groin. … Red Wings centres Datsyuk (600th) and Henrik Zetterberg (500th) both reached games played milestones. … Edmonton RW Dustin Penner left the game after taking a puck below the right eye with 2:24 left in the first period and did not return. The team said he should be fine. … Howard was named the NHL’s Second Star for last week.