By Christy Hammond
After dropping a 5-3 loss to Calgary on Monday night, the Detroit Red Wings (49-16-9) hoped to split their back-to-back game road trip and came from behind to snag a 3-2 victory over the Edmonton Oilers (35-29-9) at Rexall Place.
The Oilers controlled play early, outshooting Detroit 13-9 and tallying the first goal of the game at 18:49 in the first period on the power play. The momentum would soon shift to the Wings, who registered 35 shots in the final 40 minutes compared to Edmonton’s 13. Neither team would register a goal in the middle frame.
Jonathan Ericsson scored his second NHL goal and first of the season at 11:15 in the third. He lifted a shot from above the left faceoff circle that was deflected into the net by an Oiler. Interestingly enough, Ericsson’s only other NHL goal also came against the Oilers in Edmonton just over a year ago on Feb. 26, 2008. Defenseman Brian Rafalski earned the primary assist on the goal, giving him a personal best 56 points on the season.
Despite the Wings dictating play and peppering Roloson with shots, it looked like the game was about to head into overtime in a 1-1 tie. But then it got really interesting as three of the game’s five markers came in the remaining two minutes of action.
Marian Hossa notched his 37th goal of the season late in the third at 18:02. Johan Franzen had the puck in the left faceoff circle, dipped his shoulder to make it look like he was going to take a shot, before dishing the puck to Hossa who was rushing up the right side. Hossa’s quick release beat Roloson to give Detroit its first lead of the game.
Pavel Datsyuk won a key faceoff, cleanly sending the puck back to Nicklas Lidstrom. The Wings’ captain fired his classic shot from the point and Valtteri Filppula put the puck into the wide open net when the blocked shot bounced off of an Oiler just 32 seconds after the Hossa goal.
Edmonton’s Ales Kotalik kept the game interesting when he beat Ty Conklin on the right side with exactly a minute left. However, the Wings were determined not to lose the game. Henrik Zetterberg won a huge faceoff against Shawn Horcoff with about 15 seconds remaining in the game to give Detroit the win.
The Wings won’t get back to Detroit until 5 a.m. or so on Wednesday morning, but they’ll be able to rest up and prepare for their game against the NY Islanders on Friday night at Joe Louis Arena. The Wings will have a shot to win their 50th game this season, which would make them the first franchise to string together four straight 50-game winning seasons since the Montreal Canadiens did so in 1975-79.