Wings goalie Jimmy Howard (left) stops Oilers centre Chris VandeVelde from scoring during second period action in Detroit on Saturday, Feb. 9, 2013. (Rebecca Cook/Reuters)
DETROIT - It had been nearly a calendar year since Nikolai Khabibulin had won a hockey game.
And since that victory had come on Hockey Day in Canada last season, it seemed as good opportunity as any to give him the call Saturday against the Detroit Red Wings.
For a guy who hasn’t started a game since March, Khabibulin was pretty good, but unfortunately those in front of him lacked offensive punch.
The Oilers once again struggled to generate any offence five-on-five and fell 2-1 to the Red Wings in the opening game of Hockey Day in Canada.
Justin Schultz scored the lone goal for the Oilers, which came on a power play, while Pavel Datsyuk and Niklas Kronwall responded for the Red Wings.
Khabibulin was put to work early as the Red Wings took the game to the Oilers in the first period. Khabibulin first two saves were good ones, he then went on to face another six in the period, which finished scoreless.