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GAME: Detroit Red Wings at Edmonton Oilers.
PLAYOFF SERIES: Western Conference quarterfinals; Oilers lead 2-1.
TIME: Thursday, 9:30 p.m. EDT.
Goaltender Dwayne Roloson has been good - and lucky - in helping the Edmonton Oilers take a 2-1 series lead in the Western Conference quarterfinals against the Red Wings.
He looks to turn in another strong performance as the teams play Game 4 at the Rexall Place.
Roloson has been spectacular in net thus far, turning aside 131 of 139 shots for a .942 save percentage in the three games as the Oilers have used defensive trapping to try and neutralize the Red Wings' free-flowing offense. The goaltender made 44 saves as the Oilers posted a 4-3 double overtime victory Tuesday on a goal by Jarrett Stoll 8:44 into the second extra period.
"This is just great for the team," Roloson said. "Emotionally, it was a very draining game."
But Roloson - acquired from the Minnesota Wild prior to the trade deadline - also got some help from the video replay officials. A shot by Red Wings center Jason Williams in the first overtime period appeared to be the game-winner, but the replay showed it went in through the side after Roloson bumped the net off its moorings.
"It's tough when you think you win," said Kirk Maltby, Detroit's hero in Game 1 after he scored the winning goal in a second overtime period. "We were hoping if we got off the ice soon enough, they wouldn't review it."
Oilers defenseman Chris Pronger had an assist and played another strong all-around game while logging nearly 48 minutes. Pronger has two goals and two assists in the three games and has played almost 38 minutes per game.
"It's big for everything," said Stoll, whose goal ended the Oilers third-longest overtime game and first home playoff game in three years. "We needed that win and we needed it bad."
Manny Legace made 28 saves for the Red Wings, including a difficult one on Sergei Samsonov that led to the rebound Stoll converted for the game-winner.
"I thought I had the overtime winner in my glove," Legace said. "It must have popped off my thumb."
Edmonton has taken a 2-1 series lead against Detroit on two prior occasions, winning both en route to Stanley Cup titles in 1987 and 1988. But the last time the Oilers held a 2-1 lead in a series, they lost to the Dallas Stars in six games in the 2003 conference quarterfinals.
The Red Wings struggled for most of the game, but rallied on goals by Henrik Zetterberg and Mathieu Schneider in an 18-second span midway through the third period to force a 3-3 tie.
Zetterberg has scored all three of his goals in this series on the power play, and Schneider has a goal and three assists. Two of the top offensive players for the Red Wings, left wing Brendan Shanahan and center Pavel Datsyuk, have combined for just one assist.
In addition to the loss, the Red Wings may enter this critical game without captain and center Steve Yzerman, who played just two shifts in the first overtime due to a back injury. Coach Mike Babcock will not commit to juggling his lineup until a decision is reached on Yzerman.
"If he can go, he is definitely going to play," Babcock said. "His contribution to our team is not just measured in what you see."
The Red Wings, who were the NHL's best road team this season with a single-season 31 wins and winners of the Presidents' Trophy, would be on the verge of elimination with a loss in Game 4.
The series returns to Detroit for Game 5 on Saturday afternoon.
HOW THEY GOT HERE: Red Wings - 124 points; 1st seed. Oilers - 95 points; 8th seed.
PLAYOFF TEAM LEADERS: Red Wings - Zetterberg, 3 goals; Schneider, 3 assists and 4 points; Kris Draper and Andreas Lilja, 6 PIM. Oilers - Pronger and Stoll, 2 goals; Shawn Horcoff, 4 assists; Horcoff and Pronger, 4 points; Marc-Andre Bergeron, 8 PIM.
PLAYOFF SPECIAL TEAMS: Red Wings - Power play: 21.0 percent (4 for 19). Penalty killing: 83.3 percent (15 for 18). Oilers - Power play: 16.7 percent (3 for 18). Penalty killing: 79.0 percent (15 for 19).
GOALTENDERS: Red Wings - Legace (1-2, 0 SO, 2.34 GAA); Chris Osgood (no appearances). Oilers - Roloson (2-1, 0, 2.08); Jussi Markkanen (no appearances).
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