Spot one of the pre-eminent teams in the NHL a four-goal lead and you get what you deserve.
The Edmonton Oilers “got what they deserved” tonight in Hockey Town, dropping a 5-4 decision to the surging Detroit Red Wings, on the heels of a entertaining comeback.
Edmonton also wasted a two-goal effort from defenceman Tom Gilbert, who has revitalized his game, at both ends of the ice, since the arrival of defensive partner Ryan Whitney from Anaheim.
Despite owning the Wings this season in three previous contests, Edmonton came out flat tonight, refusing to play physical against a club whose signature is pass and dash.
It’s a recipe for disaster when you’re playing the Winged Wheel, especially given the recent ride they’ve been on through the month of March – 11-2 – to pull themselves into a solid playoff spot.
Down 3-0 after the first period, Pat Quinn’s message between periods seemed to spark the Oil, with Gilbert and Comrie cutting Detroit’s lead in half.
Another missed assignment by Ryan Potulny in the defensive zone, allowed Johan Franzen to bury a shot from the slot, giving Detroit a 4-0 lead. The luster has certainly come off Potulny’s game over the last month, to the point I’m beginning to wonder why Quinn continues to give him prime minutes.
The Oilers’ Zack Stortini eventually tied the game for Edmonton late in the third period, on a wrap-around marker. Kudos to the boys for battling back, before a high deflection off the stick of Rocky Mt. House’s, Brad Stuart, eluded both the referee and Oilers netminder Jeff Deslaurier.
JD played solid tonight; the score could have easily been 6-0 by the end of the first period.
The Oil travel to Dallas for a Friday tilt, before heading to the desert to take on the Phoenix Coyotes Saturday on Hockey Night in Canada.
Hang in there Oil fans – only six games remaining, before hope springs eternal and we all look forward to the NHL Entry Draft’s Lottery ball drop.
In the meantime, chin up, and keep your sticks on the ice Oiler fans!
About the Author
Written by Scott Pattison
Scott is an award-winning sports writer whose career spans more than 20 years. He's proudly covered the Oilers since moving to the Alberta capital in 2000.