Oilers halt losing streak with 6-2 win over Red Wings
DETROIT (AP) The Edmonton Oilers buckled down and played the kind of hockey they know they’re capable of playing.
A solid 6-2 victory over the Detroit Red Wings on Wednesday ended a three-game losing streak for Oilers, who’d surrendered 18 goals during their skid.
”There’s no sense of relief, because we know we are capable of winning hockey games,” Oilers center Mark Letestu said. ”We know those three games aren’t the hockey we can play, and we came in to prove that tonight.
”We needed this game, and everyone played with a chip on their shoulder. This is what we need to win games.”
Letestu, playing his 500th NHL game, scored for the Oilers, as did Darnell Nurse, Patrick Maroon, Jujhar Khaira, Drake Caggiula and Jesse Puljujarvi. Connor McDavid added two assists.
Niklas Kronwall and Tomas Tatar scored for the Wings, who lost their second straight game and finished 2-1-2 on a five-game homestand.
The Oilers, who were hammered 8-3 Tuesday in St. Louis, broke open a 2-2 tie with three second-period goals, taking control of the game and limiting the Wings to three shots during the period.
”They were definitely hemming us in our zone,” Detroit goalie Jimmy Howard said. ”When they played last night, it’s on all of us. We’ve got to be ready to play from the drop of the puck.”
Khaira gave the Oilers a 3-2 lead at 10:24 of the second period when he beat Howard with a low wrist shot from the high slot. The goal was Khaira’s fourth point in the last four games.
At 14:22, Edmonton increased its lead. Howard gave up a fat rebound on a long shot by Mike Cammalleri and Letestu slammed it into the net. After the goal, Detroit coach Jeff Blashill replaced Howard with Petr Mrazek.
”It was just one of those off days,” Howard said. ”They happen over the course of a season, so you just push it to the side.”
With 1:44 left in the second period, McDavid dropped a pass to Caggiula, who hammered it past Mrazek.
”We played the type of game that you need to win in this league,” Oilers coach Todd McLellan said. ”We made plays when they were there and managed the puck.
”We were responsible all over the rink and it took everybody.”
Puljujarvi completed the scoring at 18:55 of the third period.
Tatar scored a first period power-play goal, but then Nurse and Maroon gave Edmonton the lead. Kronwall tied it late in the opening period, but it was all Oilers from that point onward.
”They won all the battles,” Detroit captain Henrik Zetterberg said. ”We couldn’t get any momentum on our side, but that has to do with we’re in between all the time, we’re half there. You can’t play like that against a team like this. They’re very skilled and fast.
”When we are not playing with our speed, we’re easier to play against.”
NOTES: The Wings opted to go with Howard in goal for a fifth straight game, even though Mrazek posted a 36-save shutout against the Oilers at Edmonton on Nov. 5. … Detroit C Scott Wilson left the game in the second period with a lower-body injury after blocking a shot. … The Oilers assigned C Brad Malone to AHL Bakersfield and recalled D Ryan Stanton from the same club. Stanton was a healthy scratch Wednesday.
Oilers: Travel to Buffalo to play the Sabres on Friday.
Red Wings: In New York on Friday to face the Rangers.
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