The Detroit Red Wings showed some of the moxie that’s been missing over the past week, battling back after their opponent chased their goaltender five minutes into the game.
Marc Staal’s first career two-goal night boosted the Wings out of a three-goal deficit Tuesday against the Edmonton Oilers at Rogers Place, and former Oiler Sam Gagner also had a two-point outing on a night that turned into a score-fest.
The Oilers pulled away with a 7-5 victory, leaving the Wings winless in six games.
“We stayed in the game,” Wings captain Dylan Larkin said. “We had the mindset no matter what, it’s always an eventful night and a lot of ups and downs and they’re going to get their looks but we have to just keep playing.”
The Wings (24-29-7) forced a 4-4 tie three minutes into the third period, after trailing 4-1 at the end of the first period. Both teams scored three times in the third period, as the Oilers improved to 19-0-0 when scoring first.
Thomas Greiss was pulled after giving up three goals on six shots, and replaced by Alex Nedeljkovic, who gave up three goals on 25 shots.
“We start slow, we start in our own zone,” Larkin said. “We have to find a way to make it hard, make it where nothing happens and get pucks deep. They swarmed us and we were caught in our own zone.”
Gagner came through with a big goal near the end of the second period. He had his stick behind the goal line when he directed the puck on net, but the puck went in the net and the Wings were within two goals. It was a big night for Gagner, who tied his dad, Dave Gagner, at 946 games, in what was Gagner’s first appearance in Edmonton since being traded at the 2020 deadline.
Filip Zadina followed up with a power play goal 2:18 into the third period, scoring on a one-timer off a feed from Taro Hirose, who picked up his second assist of the night. Staal scored his second goal 34 seconds later, but Evander Kane put the Oilers up by a goal 1:23 after that.
Lucas Raymond scored into an empty net at 6:32, taking advantage of Mikko Koskinen having gone behind his net to play the puck. Warren Foegele scored at 14:35 when his shot at the net rolled in off Staal, who had dropped to the ice to try to block the shot. Kane scored against with 1:09 to play, into an empty net.
Greiss got a second straight start because he made 30 saves through two periods Saturday at Calgary, which kept it a one-goal game. But he lasted just 4:35 against the Oilers, who scored three times on six shots. Devin Shore deflected the puck past Greiss at 1:59, and Connor McDavid netted his 33rd goal at 3:11, scoring from the side of the net. Zach Hyman followed up when he eluded Moritz Seider and cut to the net, sending the puck short side on Greiss.
Greiss was also pulled March 5 at Florida, after allowing five goals on 23 shots in 31:01. He replaced Nedeljkovic in the Arizona gave but, after allowing two goals on three shots in 3:45, was pulled and Nedeljkovic re-entered that game.
Saturday was a memorable game for Staal because it was the 1,000th of his career. He scored his second goal of the season in his 1,001st game, firing a shot from the top of the left circle. Michael Rasmussen was fronting Koskinen as the puck sailed through traffic and into Edmonton’s net. It was a big goal, breaking the tsunami of scoring that knocked the Wings off their feet in the early going. Staal had another good scoring chance later in the same period, when Givani Smith made a nice, cross-ice pass to Smith in the left circle, but Koskinen could see the puck coming that time. Staal scored on a one-timer off a drop pass by Gagner
Defenseman Olli Juolevi made his debut, nine days after being claimed off waivers. Juolevi was partnered with Filip Hronek, replacing Jordan Oesterle. Juolevi, 23, was a no-risk pickup, and figures to be a depth move should general manager Steve Yzerman trade a defenseman by Monday’s deadline. His NHL career hasn’t lived up to being drafted No. 5 in 2016, but he’s in the last year of his contract, so if things don’t work out, there’s no commitment. He’s an option to put in the lineup, especially with Gustav Lindstrom having been booted since his minus-6 performance in the Arizona game.
Contact Helene St. James at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @helenestjames. Read more on the Detroit Red Wings and sign up for our Red Wings newsletter. Her book, The Big 50: The Detroit Red Wings is available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Triumph Books. Personalized copies available via her e-mail.