Friday, November 04, 2005

Wings 3, Oilers 4 (OT)

Wings fail to win 10th straight

Detroit faced a much sterner test in tonight's game against Edmonton and came out on the losing end, after Raffi Torres scored the game winner in overtime.

Both teams dominated the play for stretches of the game but the Oilers got out to an early start and caused the Wings to play catch up for the rest of the night.

Chris Osgood made his second start of the season and played well for the most part. The goals he did allow were more the result of defensive lapses than anything else. He came up big at other times, however, and was steady on the more routine saves.

The loss drops the Wings to 12-1-1 and kept them from setting a franchise record win-streak of 10 games. They did tie the record for most points through 14 games (25), though, due to the loss coming in overtime.

First Period

Kirk Maltby, Kris Draper, Steve Yzerman, Andreas Lilja and Nick Lidstrom started the game for Mike Babcock. The first couple minutes were a little choppy with a whistle or two but mostly it was back and forth hockey. The Oilers had a bit more jump than the Wings, though, and it soon paid off with a goal.

At 4:34, Shawn Horcoff made it 1-0 Edmonton when he scored off the feed from Ryan Smythe. The play developed as sort of an odd man rush, with Mathieu Schneider back and his defensive partner, Jiri Fischer trying to get in position. Smythe, skating on the far side, passed the puck to Horcoff who got the shot off. Osgood, still on the right side of the net, made the save with his right leg but it bounced back to his left foot and trickled in from there. Ozzie could have been in better position, I guess, but it developed quickly and Horcoff was Fischer's responsibility.

The Wings responded with the some pressure of their own but the Oilers got some more chances themselves immediately following that pressure. Then, Detroit got on the board.

The Oilers were pinned in their own end and got possession of the puck in front of their own net. Cory Cross attempted to pass it to his partner not 10 feet away from his goalie. Bad decision. Tomas Holmstrom stole the pass and took it back across the net and scored a backhander on the far side, beating Jussi Markkanen up high.

The Wings followed up their goal by generating some strong pressure with the Zetterberg-Datsyuk-Holmstrom line. At 11:02, the Wings went on the power play and Pavel's line was out there again, with Schneider and Lidstrom. They got a good set up and had some sustained pressure, cycling the puck well and getting off some good shots. Zetterberg got called for hooking after a flurry at 12:52 and the two teams went to four a side for 10 seconds. The ensuing Edmonton power play was killed off easily by the Wings, though they did follow it up with some close-in chances on which Ozzie needed to be sharp.

The rest of the period consisted of back-and-forth play, with both teams trading chances but not scoring. The Wings went on the power play again with 1:49 left but didn't get much going before the horn sounded.

Shots were 13-12 Wings.

Second Period

The Wings' 11 second power play to start the period amounted to nothing but they got another chance at it little more than a minute in when Cross took a delay of game penalty. This effort wasn't much better. Their initial set-up was quickly cleared and their next attempt only generated a little pressure. They gave up a good short handed chance after screwing up in their own zone but Edmonton's shot was sent high.

Soon after the Wings' power play expired, Brendan Shanahan got called for tripping. The Oilers got some good pressure and almost scored on a flurry with about 35 seconds remaining on the man-advantage. Franzen was called for hooking as a result of this flurry and the Wings faced a 5-on-3 situation. The Oilers set up and began cycling but the Wings cleared it and it was killed off. Six seconds later (5:37), before Shanahan could join the play after leaving the box, the Oilers made it 2-1. Edmonton young gun Ales Hemsky sent the puck through the crease to Ryan Smythe at the far post, who got a slam dunk goal. Not much chance for Ozzie on that one.

The Wings fourth line, made up of Dan Cleary, Johan Franzen and Mikael Samuelsson generated good pressure soon after the Edmonton goal and caused the Oilers to ice the puck. It was a good shift for those guys, even though they didn't score.

At 8:16, Steve Staios was called for tripping and the Wings went on the power play again. They scored in less than 30 seconds. Pavel Datsyuk took the puck in off a rush on the far side and sent the puck to Holmstrom, whose snap shot went over a flailing Markkanen for his second of the night. Pretty exciting goal to make it 2-2. Great pass by Datsyuk.

The Wings got pretty fired up after that goal and dominated play for the next few minutes. Pavel Datsyuk's line, with Zetterberg and Holmstrom, in particular, got some great chances. Holmstrom nearly got a hat trick at this point but was denied. When the next line came out, it was somewhat anticlimactic, actually. Those three are great together and are exciting just about every shift.

Play evened out after that and the rest of the period was more skating up and down the ice trading chances.

Shots were 12-8 Wings.

Third Period

Pavel's line began the period with more excitement, getting a flurry of chances at about 1:20. The Oilers had a couple big chances themselves early, with a rush at 2:09 that forced Osgood to make a good save and a 2-on-1 twenty seconds later that ended with the shot being sent over the net.

Edmonton took the lead once again at 4:11 off a harmless shot from Chris Pronger that was tipped in by Fernando Pisani from 10-15 feet out. The puck, which had been flying about 4 feet in the air , went straight down to the ice and Osgood had no chance to react, after committing on the first vector. 3-2 Oilers.

The Wings countered with some pressure, again from Pavel's line but couldn't score.

At 6:46, Marc-Andre Bergeron was called for "closing hand on puck" and the Wings went on the power play once again. It turn out to be a textbook example of how to manage the puck and score with the man-advantage. The Wings put on a passing clinic and pretty much had continuous pressure with the same unit for 1:19 before finally scoring an inevitable goal at 8:05. Their puck patrol had worn the Oilers down, both physically and geographically and by the time Williams took the pass from Datsyuk, they were collapsed around the front of the net. Williams one-timed Pavel's pass and it blew past Markkanen, who was pretty much helpless to stop it. Game tied at 3.

Osgood made what sounded like a great save on Torres at 9:09 but I missed it live and didn't see the replay because I was pulled into a short conversation by someone else in the room. Still, Ken Daniels and Mickey Redmond were pretty excited about it and called it a game saver.

The Wings had to kill off another penalty soon after what I thought was a blown interference call committed on Lang at about 12:30.

At 15:29, Stoll went off for holding but he actually committed the penalty a good 15-20 seconds before that, if not more. The Wings, with the extra skater, absolutely dominated the puck for a while and got some very good chances before Markkanen finally got a glove on it and got a whistle. The Wings power play wasn't bad either, with some good pressure and chances but no score.

Again, the period ended with both sides trading chances at a fairly rapid pace.

Shots were 12-4 Wings.


I don't have much down for overtime. It was pretty much just back and forth until the Oilers scored at 1:51 to win the game. Torres scored on a give-and-go with Staios off a rush and just beat Osgood. Not the greatest goal for the Wings defense or their goalie to give up but it's done now.


The Oilers were without one of their big off-season acquisitions, Michael Peca, who suffered a concussion after being hit by Rick Nash's elbow Tuesday ... In 48 career games versus Edmonton, Steve Yzerman has 43 goals. He didn't get one tonight, though ... Karen Newman did not sing the national anthem tonight. I was so in shock that I didn't write down the guy's name ... Chris Pronger will visit his old team tomorrow night when the Oilers travel to St. Louis ... The Oilers are on a 12-day, 7-game road trip because their home arena, Rexall Place is hosting the Canadian Finals Rodeo ... Because Kris Draper thinks his line can no longer be called the "Grind Line," the Wings are looking for fan ideas on a new name for the Maltby-Draper-Yzerman forward unit. We'll get to vote on them when they distill the entries down to the 10 best on 16. Go to the official site to make your submission. Be more creative than "Visor Line, " please. The deadline for submission is the 14th and voting will take place on the 16th ... With the Wings two power play goals, the Oilers have given up at least one PPG in their last 10 games ... Interestingly enough, the two backup goalies in tonight's game have a connection: they both were University of Maine goaltenders. Michael Morrison, the Oilers' backup, was at Maine from 1998 to 2002 and Jimmy Howard, the Wings' temporary backup, followed him up from 2002 to 2005 ... The Oilers blocked 20+ shots tonight, just to give you an idea of how good they were at keeping the puck away from their goalie ...

It was a disappointing loss, to be sure. The Wings played well enough for much of the game to pull off the win but they were unable to finish fully on their chances too often. The Oilers played a good game and their speed gave the Wings a good indication of exactly where they stand both offensively and defensively. Their most recent opponents were nice for padding in the wins column but didn't really tell us much about how good the Wings really are. Now we know that they are good but that they need to work on some things before facing even tougher opponents.

Play-by-Play, Shift chart, Box-score


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