Wings put clamps on Oilers in 5-0 win
EDMONTON, Alberta -- The Detroit Red Wings showed the Edmonton Oilers that it’s better to be good and tired than bad and rested.
Despite playing their second game in two nights, and third in four nights, the Red Wings thoroughly outclassed an Edmonton team coming off a three-day break. They jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first, padded it by one in the second and scored two more in the third to run away with a 5-0 victory.
“It’s tough, it was embarrassing, I have no words for it and there is no excuses for us,” said Oilers defenseman Ladislav Smid. “People talk about injuries and back luck and stuff and we can’t talk about that any more. We all have to wake up in here. I don’t think there is one person that can be proud of what he did on the ice.”
The Wings didn’t even give Edmonton a sniff, outshooting them 30-14. For rookie goaltender Petr Mrazek, it might be the easiest shutout he’ll ever get.
“It’s a great moment for me right now,” smiled Mrazek. “Sometimes seeing that few shots is harder than facing 30. I really had to be focused on every shot that I had.”
The Oilers, already so far out of a playoff spot in the Western Conference that many believe their season is already over, were supposed to be fresh and desperate. They looked neither, as Detroit rolled over them from the opening faceoff.
“We played good defense today and very good on the penalty kill,” said Mrazek. “The team played very well. We knew we had to play smart to beat these guys and we did.”
The Wings, meanwhile, were supposed to be dog tired. They didn’t look it, scoring 5:09 into the first period on Darren Helm’s breakaway and going up 2-0 before the before the shock of the first goal even had a chance to set it. Just 27 seconds after Helm’s goal, Tomas Tatar collected his third of the season.
From there, the Wings simply controlled the puck for the rest of the game, playing smarter hockey than the disorganized and undisciplined Oilers.
“We controlled the game and played well,” said Detroit coach Mike Babcock. “We wanted to play three periods, not two like we did last night (in Calgary).”
The Oilers were expected to regroup at some point, given that their season is hanging in the balance. They didn‘t. They couldn’t get their second shot of the second period until the 12 minute mark and fell behind 3-0 on Jakub Kindl goal at 6:55.
Detroit piled on in the third, with Joakim Andersson scoring at 7:54 and Todd Bertuzzi at 9:43.
The Oilers, who were outscored 17-2 over their last 11 periods at home, were booed off their own ice.
“If we’re going to play like that, that’s what we’re going to get,” said Oilers coach Dallas Eakins, adding he believes the team has lost all confidence. “I think they’re playing scared. They’re scared of losing.”
Detroit improved to 9-4-2 with the back-to-back wins in Calgary and Edmonton while the Oilers lost at home for the fifth time in six games to fall to 3-10-2. They remain last in the Western Conference, 10 points out of the final wildcard spot.
“It’s frustrating, there is not much else to be said,” Oilers center Sam Gagner said. “Our compete level wasn’t high enough and we weren’t sharp to start the game. You have to find a way to fight back. Things aren’t going to go your way every night, but you have to compete. You have to push back and we didn’t have that. We didn’t make hard enough plays and because of that, the score ends up what it was.”
NOTES: With Oilers G Devan Dubnyk recovering from an ankle injury, Richard Bachman started his third game in a row. He lasted less than a period before suffering a leg injury. ... Oilers LW Taylor Hall, who has been out for two weeks with a knee injury, skated with the team and expects to be back within a week. ... Edmonton D Justin Schultz is down with a rib injury and LW David Perron is out with neck trouble as Edmonton’s injured list climbed to 10. ... Red Wings G Petr Mrazak returned to Edmonton for the first time since starring at the 2011-12 World Junior Championships. ... Oft-injured Red Wings C Darren Helm was playing just his third game in 18 months. He scored five minutes in. ... Detroit C Johan Franzen didn’t play because of illness.