Shootout magic continues

ROBERT TYCHKOWSKI -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 10:18 AM ET

DETROIT -- Comebacks. Overtime. Shootouts. On the road, against teams that don't lose at home.

It was the hardest five points they might ever earn, but the Oilers Gut-Check Trip ended the way it started, with a hard-fought battle to the finish last night at Joe Louis Arena.

After hauling points out of Dallas and St. Louis, in OT and the shootout, they stormed into Detroit snapped the Wings seven-game win streak with a 4-3 triumph in a, wait for it, shootout.

"Huge trip for us," said Ales Hemsky, who scored once in regulation and then added the shootout winner. "We're playing better now, like a team. That's the difference. And the shootouts are working for us. Both our goalies are great in them."

In beating the Wings, who'd only lost two home games all season, the Oilers went to 2-0-1 on the three game trip and improved to 15-16-2.

They're a league-best 9-1 in shootouts now.

"We played well," said Fernando Pisani, who scored his second goal in as many games.

"They had a lot of shots against us, they always do, but for the most part we kept them to the outside. And when we needed a goal, we got one.

"We played hard this whole week. We played a lot of hockey, but guys have responded and played well."

"Against some pretty tough teams, too," added Robert Nilsson, who extended his points streak to eight games.

"Winning against Detroit in their building, not many teams have done that."

Once again, the Oilers had no trouble with their offence. They've scored three or more goals in seven of their last eight games after managing three or more in just five of the 13 games before that.

They were outshot terribly (42-25), but netminder Dwayne Roloson was good enough to get them a win.

"We've had great goaltending, both from Matty (Garon) and Rolie the last couple of games," said Nilsson "We need that. Every winning team needs goalies like that."

Roloson made big saves on Dan Cleary and Valtteri Filppula in OT, then Pavel Datsyuk, Henrik Zetterberg and Jiri Hudler in the shootout.

Detroit opened the scoring at 2:46, on a Mark Hartigan goal that Roloson should have had, and it looked like it was going to be a long night.

But as they have so many times on this trip, the Oilers came back. Hemsky squared it at 12:28 and Joni Pitkanen sent them into intermission up 2-1 with a goal at 17:06.

As they usually are in Detroit, the Oilers were badly outshot -- 25-12 --when Henrik Zetterberg tied the score at 2-2 13 minutes into the second period.

"They have a way of controlling the play and controlling the puck," head coach Craig MacTavish said of the Wings. "They cycle the puck very well."

But just 2:09 later, the line of Pisani, Nilsson and Sam Gagner connected for the fourth straight game, putting Edmonton up 3-2 on Pisani's goal.

With the Oilers tantalizingly close to a regulation win, Zetterberg broke their hearts, firing the tying goal over Roloson's arm with just 2:40 left.


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