SUN Hockey Pool

Oilers smoked out on road

ROBERT TYCHKOWSKI -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 10:43 AM ET

DETROIT -- In a nice gesture, the Red Wings asked their fans to bring smoke detectors last night to be donated to the less fortunate in Detroit.

They might want to put a couple of them in the Oilers dressing room - the poor sots get lit up almost every time they come here.

Just check the burn marks on Dwayne Roloson, who had a fantastic performance ruined by 19 teammates who didn't get around to providing him with any support until it was too late.

"They're a good team, you can't start slow against them," said Jarret Stoll, after the Oilers served the Red Wings three seperate two-goal leads in a 4-2 loss.

"In the second intermission, down 3-2, we were confident we could come back and get the W, but ... we have to have better starts against these guys."

The Oilers, with a few of the rookies playing in their very first NHL road game, looked flustered and disorganized early on against a team with plenty of speed, all kinds of experience, a five-time Norris Trophy winner on its blueline and a hall of famer in its net.

Not that the Wings needed any goaltending for all the action Dominik Hasek saw.

"We were a little tentative, which isn't good," said Andrew Cogliano, who scored his first ever NHL goal to give Edmonton a chance going into the third. "We came out of the gate pretty good in the first two games, but this time I think we gave them a little too much respect. They're skilled, but we weren't playing our game in the first."

Edmonton, as it usually does when it plays here, started terribly. They put themselves on the defensive right off the bat with two early penalties, gave up an early goal (a weak wraparound by Mikael Samuelsson at 6:51) and were being outshot 14-2 when Chris Chelios made it 2-0.

It's not the first time they've almost been run out of this building in the first period, either. Last November the Wings outshot them 14-0 in the opening 20 minutes, and 28-3 through a period and a half, en route to a 3-0 win.

"It was a good test for us coming in here," said Stoll. "You have to have a good start against a team like this. We know where we're at; we have to get better."

The message between the first and second period was simple: Don't turn the puck over, stay out of the box and don't let Detroit go up by two.

So what happens?

Five seconds into the period Joni Pitkanen throws a five-bell hand grenade up the middle, Steve Staios takes a a penalty on the ensuing Wings rush and Tomas Holmstrom makes it 3-1 on the ensuing power play - all of this in the first 27 seconds.

"Um, want to go over those instructions again, coach?"

Craig MacTavish could only grind his teeth. "Anytime you take penalties early, it's tough to get into the flow of the game,"he said. "And it gives them plenty of opportunity. When we did get down to a four-line game we played pretty well."

It should have been a rout, but Shawn Horcoff scored a few seconds after Detroit made it 2-0 and Cogliano, the former Michigan Wolverine, scored the first of his career with 9.5 seconds left in the second period to keep Edmonton in the game through 40 minutes.

"First goal is against Hasek, that's pretty cool," said Cogliano. "Pretty good experience for me. That doesn't happen every day."

And empty netter in the final seconds sealed the win for Detroit.

LATE HITS: CHRIS CHELIOS MOVED INTO EIGHTH PLACE ON THE all-time games list with 1,550 games played, and celebrated with his first goal in 77 games. "It's about time he got one," grinned teammate Nick Lidstrom.


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