DETROIT – The Red Wings' seven-game winning streak came to an end at the hands of the Edmonton Oilers in a 4-3 shootout loss Thursday night at Joe Louis Arena.
Right wing Ales Hemsky scored the lone goal in the shootout for the Oilers, who improved to 15-16-2 on the season. Goalie Dwayne Roloson stopped all three Detroit attempts in the shootout. He made 39 saves in regulation and overtime.
Last season, Edmonton beat Detroit in three of four meetings, and this season, the Oilers not only snapped a lengthy win streak, but the loss is also the Red Wings' first setback to a Northwest Division opponent this season.
The game started well for Detroit when in only his second game as a Red Wing, veteran center Mark Hartigan make the most out of his opportunity. After taking a pass from Matt Ellis, he burned defenseman Denis Grebeshkov behind the Oilers' net, stepped out in front and shot the puck over Roloson's glove to give Detroit an early 1-0 edge.
“Ellis took a big hit to get it deep there, and I knew I had time,” Hartigan said. “I just wanted to get it up, and it went off his shoulder”
The early lead was a good sign for the Wings, who prior to Thursday were 17-3-1 when scoring the game's first goal.
In the Red Wings' seven-game streak, they had scored first in every game.
An Aaron Downey penalty led to a rare power play goal for Edmonton who has the worst power play percentage in the league at 11.9 percent. Sheldon Souray, in only his second game back from injury, put the puck at the net, and Hemsky was there to put it in over Wings goalie Dominik Hasek for his 10th goal of the season.
Hasek stopped 22 shots.
Joni Pitkanen then put the Oilers ahead, 2-1, when a fortunate bounce came back to him as he drove into the Wing's zone, and lifted the puck to the corner over Hasek with under three minutes left in the first.
Hasek, winner of his last three starts, made a great save on Hemsky eight-minutes into the second period denying his low shot, and keeping the Wings' deficit to one.
Henrik Zetterberg's first of two goals knotted the score, 2-2, at 13:24 of the second. While on the power play, Zetterberg tipped Brian Rafalski point shot past Roloson’s blocker.
Zetterberg has now scored in 28 of 31games.
Brett Lebda (22) and Chris Chelios (24) congratulate Mark Hartigan, center, on his first goal of the season during the first period of their NHL hockey game against the Edmonton Oilers on Thursday, Dec. 13, 2007, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Jerry S. Mendoza)
Edmonton answered right back though, as a pass from rookie center Sam Gagner to Fernando Pisani led to goal that gave the Oilers a 3-2 lead at 15:33. Edmonton is now 7-1-1 when leading after two periods.
“We’re doing a pretty good job of getting pucks to the net, and we’re putting our chances in and that’s the main thing,” said Oilers center Andrew Cogliano after two periods. “When you get chances against a defense and a goalie like this you got to make them count.”
Hasek was momentarily injured when he was struck by a skate. Even though backup Chris Osgood got ready, he continued to watch the game from the bench, as Hasek felt good enough to continue.
Roloson stopped a short-handed breakaway by Dallas Drake just over five minutes into the third period to keep the Oilers on top. But in a move similar to Hartigan's first period tally, Zetterberg went around the back of the net to wrap-around and shoot right through Roloson to force overtime.
The score carried over into the shootout. Hemsky slipped one in off the post to give the Oilers a 1-0 lead. It was all Edmonton needed, as Roloson stopped Pavel Datsyuk, Zetterberg and Jiri Hudler.
GAME NOTES: The Red Wings (22-6-3) were without Tomas Holmstrom who missed the game due to a sore knee. Kris Draper (sprained knee) and Kirk Maltby (lower back) each missed their seventh straight game.