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GAME: Detroit Red Wings at Edmonton Oilers.
PLAYOFF SERIES: Western Conference quarterfinals; Oilers lead 3-2.
TIME: Monday, 8 p.m. EDT.
The Edmonton Oilers finally learned how to protect their lead, and now they're one win away from eliminating the NHL's top team during the regular season.
The Oilers try to win their first playoff series since 1998 when they host the top-seeded Detroit Red Wings in Game 6 of their Western Conference quarterfinal series.
Edmonton has taken the early lead in the last four games of the series, but has allowed Detroit to come back and tie or go ahead in all of those games - until Saturday.
The Oilers scored three unanswered goals during a seven-plus minute span in the second period and never relinquished their lead en route to a 3-2 victory in Detroit.
"We built a 3-0 lead and I thought after that, we did a good job defensing it," Oilers coach Craig MacTavish said.
After a scoreless first period, Fernando Pisani, Ryan Smyth and Shawn Horcoff all scored in the second for Edmonton. Brendan Shanahan got the Red Wings on the board at the end of that period, but they continued to have trouble solving Edmonton goaltender Dwayne Roloson, who made 30 saves.
Roloson, acquired from Minnesota prior to the trade deadline, has held Detroit to just 14 goals on 202 shots in the series.
The Red Wings pulled goaltender Manny Legace with 1:49 remaining, leading to Henrik Zetterberg's goal, but couldn't get the equalizer. Legace allowed two goals on the first seven shots he faced.
"I'm just playing average and average isn't good enough for the playoffs," said Legace, whose 2.19 goals-against average during the regular season was third-best in the NHL. "You have to step it up in the playoffs. I don't feel I've taken my game to the next level."
If the Red Wings can't find that level in Game 6, they'll face an early exit for the third straight season. Detroit won the Stanley Cup in 2002, but has since failed to advance beyond the second round.
The Red Wings lost Saturday despite outshooting Edmonton 32-19, including 11-4 in both the first and third periods.
Detroit captain Steve Yzerman is day-to-day with a back injury that has sidelined him for two consecutive games. The 40-year-old center had an assist in each of the first three contests of the series and leads all active players with 184 playoff points.
"The pressure is on them, but at the same time, we want to close it out and win at home," said Edmonton's Chris Pronger, who assisted on all three goals in Game 5 and has seven points in the series. "We have to have a killer instinct."
Game 7, if necessary, will be Wednesday in Detroit.
HOW THEY GOT HERE: Red Wings - 124 points; 1st seed. Oilers - 95 points; 8th seed.
PLAYOFF TEAM LEADERS: Red Wings - Zetterberg, 5 goals; Mathieu Schneider, 6 assists and 7 points; Tomas Holmstrom, 10 PIM. Oilers - Pisani, 3 goals; Horcoff and Pronger, 5 assists; Pronger, 7 points; Marc-Andre Bergeron, 10 PIM.
PLAYOFF SPECIAL TEAMS: Red Wings - Power play: 19.4 percent (7 for 36). Penalty killing: 80.6 percent (25 for 31). Oilers - Power play: 19.4 percent (6 for 31). Penalty killing: 80.6 percent (29 for 36).
GOALTENDERS: Red Wings - Legace (2-3, 2.41 GAA); Jimmy Howard (no appearances). Oilers - Roloson (3-2, 2.41); Jussi Markkanen (no appearances).
|Apr 21 '06||EDM 2 at DET 3 - OT||K. Maltby|
|Apr 23 '06||EDM 4 at DET 2||B. Winchester|
|Apr 25 '06||DET 3 at EDM 4 - OT||J. Stoll|
|Apr 27 '06||DET 4 at EDM 2||N. Lidstrom|
|Apr 29 '06||EDM 3 at DET 2||S. Horcoff|
|May 01 '06||DET 3 at EDM 4||A. Hemsky|
Ticket Info: 313.471.7575
General Info: 313.471.7444