Wings down Oilers

Red Wings forward Justin Abdelkader fights with Oilers forward Ryan Jones at Joe Louis Arena in...

Red Wings forward Justin Abdelkader fights with Oilers forward Ryan Jones at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit, Mich., Feb. 8, 2012. (REBECCA COOK/Reuters)

DEREK VAN DIEST, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:14 PM ET

DETROIT - Tom Renney may have been the one coming back from a head injury, but it was the Edmonton Oilers who looked a little woozy Wednesday night in Detroit.

The Oilers were slow out of the blocks, and despite clawing their way back into the contest, fell 4-2 to the Detroit Red Wings.

Johan Franzen, Cory Emmerton, Drew Miller and Henrik Zetterberg scored for the Red Wings, while Sam Gagner collected both goals for the Oilers, extending his point streak to five games.

"I thought we got off to a good start, the first five or 10 minutes, then after that, for whatever reason, we flattened out," said Gagner. "We couldn't sustain any pressure. It was good we tied it up, but then right after that, it was the same thing, we let it go.

"This is something we have to learn from and get better as we go along."

Having just faced the Red Wings Saturday, Renney was hoping his club would bring a similar intensity to Wednesday's rematch.

However, outside of a first-period fight by Ryan Jones, who got the upper hand on Justin Abdelkader, the Oilers practically slept walked through the first 20 minutes.

The Red Wings didn't add much to the encounter either in the first, as the teams combined for a total of eight shots.

Franzen scored the lone goal of the period, parking himself in front of the net on a power play, and tipping a point-shot through the legs of goaltender Nikolai Khabibulin, who was making his first start in two and-a-half weeks.

The Oilers were awarded a golden opportunity to tie the game as Emmerton and Brad Stuart took penalties just over a minute apart.

However, despite going into the game with one of the top power-play units in the league, the Oilers were unable to manage a shot on the two-man advantage, much less score a goal.

"It was awful," said Renney. "We threw it around too much, put it to the wrong people, we had one-timers waiting to be used. We were discombobulated and it hurt us quite honestly. If we score there, it's a different ball game."

In the second, the Red Wings extended their lead as Emmerton beat Lennart Petrell to a rebound in front and lifted a shot over Khabibulin.

At that point the Red Wings were dominating the contest territorially as they came out of their slumber and threw 15 shots at Khabibulin.

Yet, despite being out-played, the Oilers cut into the lead before the end of the period as Gagner scored on a breakaway.

The centre currently brandishing a hot stick, was sent in alone by Jones after the Red Wings were caught pre-occupied with Ben Eager, who had drilled Dan Cleary along the boards.

As Jonathan Ericsson and the rest of the Red Wings went looking for retribution, Jeff Petry sent the puck up to Jones as centre, who intern, fired it up to Gagner, who undressed goaltender Joey MacDonald.

Gagner then extended his streak and scored his eighth goal in four games, picking up Magnus Paajarvi's leftovers in front to tie the contest.

"It's almost like we got happy after that, like we had done it," Renney said. "We didn't do it. We tied the game, but we didn't do it. That's part of growing up, realizing that there is a lot more spade work to be done beyond that.

"I thought we were a little bit of fool's gold tonight, even though we tied it up, I didn't see us wanting the game bad enough to go much further than we did at that point and time."

Miller restored the Red Wings lead after Abdelkader knocked Cam Barker off the puck, then fired a shot, which got through Khabibulin and sat behind him in the crease.

Zetterberg added a fourth, waiting Khabibulin out after collecting a rebound.

"I don't like what I saw and I'm not happy with the effort we put in tonight," Renney said. "I thought we gave a great team an opportunity to be even greater."

derek.vandiest@sunmedia.ca

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