SUN Hockey Pool

Final Oiler flurry falls short

DEREK VAN DIEST, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:14 AM ET

They could only hold on for so long.

Dwayne Roloson could only do so much.

Eventually the Detroit Red Wings would reel in the Edmonton Oilers last night, scoring three goals in the third period en route to a 3-2 victory.

Jonathan Ericsson, Marian Hossa, and Valtteri Flippula scored for the Red Wings, while Denis Grebeshkov and Ales Kotalik countered for the Oilers, who went into the contest with more confidence than they've had all season.

Strange perhaps, considering the Red Wings had owned them this year and in their last encounter ran them out of the rink in the first period.

Roloson was outstanding but could not hold off the Red Wings on his own.

After clinging to a one-goal lead through the first two periods, the Red Wings tied the game in the third, not on a brilliant passing play completed with an outstanding shot, but a floater from the point, thrown at the net by a guy who hasn't scored a goal all year.

Ericsson's flukey bank shot off defenceman Steve Staios somehow found the back of the net, then Hossa scored with 1:58 left to play and Flippula added another before Kotalik gave the Oilers one last gasp of hope.

The Oilers were able to convert on the power-play in the first period, shortly after squandering a two-man advantage.

Denis Grebeshkov, who decided to take a shoot-first attitude last night, blew a one-timer past Ty Conklin.

The goal came after Daniel Cleary was let out of the box and was able to scramble back into the play.

Consecutive penalties to Cleary and Henrik Zetterberg had given the Oilers a 54-second power play in the opening period.

Noting the opportunity, head coach Craig MacTavish called a timeout in order to organize his troops.

However, they spent the entire two-man advantage trying to set up the perfect shot and failed to hit the target.

It was only after Cleary's penalty was finished that the Oilers began throwing pucks at the net.

In the second period the Red Wings began to take over, helped in part by a number of Oiler penalties.

With the best power-play unit in the league, taking penalties is never a good strategy against the Red Wings, but the Oilers were able to get away with it, due largely in part to the play of Roloson.

Even with Tomas Holmstrom back in the lineup and taking his usual spot in front of the net, Roloson was able to stay a step ahead of the Red Wings.

His best save through the first two periods came on Ericsson, who had jumped up from the blue line and took a cross-ice pass.

Having read the play, Roloson was waiting for the Wings defenceman and didn't give him anything to shoot at.

At the other end, Conklin was handling everything like a live hand grenade, but was still able to keep the Wings within a goal.

The Oilers' best chance to increase their lead came when Tom Gilbert found himself alone at the top of the slot, but the big defenceman was unable to hit the net.

Coming into the contest, the Red Wings had won all of the previous games between the two teams.

The last time around in Detroit, the Red Wings jumped out to a 5-0 first-period lead en route to an 8-3 win.

This time around, it took until the third period before the Oilers finally relented.

LOOSE PUCKS: Marc Pouliot drew back into the Edmonton lineup, taking the injured Liam Reddox's spot on the fourth line. Pouliot had been a healthy scratch for the previous four games.


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