History in the making

DEREK VAN DIEST -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 10:22 AM ET

Perhaps it had to do with the Oilers standing pat at the trade deadline.

Or maybe it was because the best team in the league limped into the city missing a quarter of their lineup and having lost eight of their previous nine games.

Whatever the reason, there wasn't much in the way of atmosphere last night at Rexall Place until Fernando Pisani blew the roof off the joint with a tying goal with 28.6 seconds left in regulation time.

Robert Nilsson then capped an unlikely comeback, scoring the shootout winner in a 4-3 victory over the Detroit Red Wings.

It marked Edmonton's 13th tie-breaker win of the season -- a new NHL record.

"It was a weird mood on the team tonight, for whatever reason," said Oilers head coach Craig MacTavish.

"It's always a little different around the (trade) deadline. Certainly it's a disappointment for us to be in the situation we're in right now, and certainly it may be more reflective on a day like today.

"I thought it was a little bit of a sombre team tonight and I thought we played that way. We were fortunate to get out of it with the win. We'll have to crank it back up (today) and get more energy, get more execution."

Detroit went into the game with six regulars out of the lineup because of injury, including five-time Norris Trophy winner Nicklas Lidstrom. Also missing were Daniel Cleary, Niklas Kronwall, Chris Chelios, Brian Rafalski and Dominik Hasek, who was only healthy enough to dress as a backup.

The Oilers have their own injury woes with Shawn Horcoff, Ethan Moreau, Ladislav Smid, Sheldon Souray and Raffi Torres on the shelf. Joni Pitkanen took a puck in the leg in the third period and left the game.

"Detroit, as much as they've struggled lately, they're a tough team to evaluate your team against because they check so well," MacTavish said. "We didn't make a lot of plays and got into penalty trouble, which we didn't want to do."

Tom Gilbert opened the scoring in the second period, converting a cross-crease feed from Nilsson. The goal came following a barrage by the Oilers that forced Chris Osgood to make a number of good saves before he was eventually hung out to dry by his defencemen.

Geoff Sanderson extended the Oilers lead in the third period, taking a pass from Marty Reasoner, then blowing around Wings defenceman Jonathan Ericsson and neatly tucking the puck underneath Osgood.

Garon kept it a two-goal lead with a breakaway save on Dallas Drake later in the period, but then Ericsson stepped into a shot on the power-play which had enough on it to beat Garon.

Datsyuk tied the game on the power-play, snapping a shot over Garon's shoulder, before Valtteri Filppula put the Wings ahead with 2:16 left when his knuckler fluttered past the Oilers' goaltender.

Then with Garon pulled for an extra attacker, Pisani tied the game on the power-play, setting up the big finish.

Following the scoreless overtime session, Garon stopped Pavel Datsyuk, Henrik Zetterberg and Jiri Hudler in the shootout. Sam Gagner and Ales Hemsky were unable to convert for the Oilers before Nilsson sniped the winner.

"We played great through two periods then we gave up three easy goals in the third period," Nilsson said. "But we never gave up. We were able to get the tying goal and in the shootout we usually do what we did tonight, so it was a good two points for us."


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