EditorsNote: headline tweaked, minor edits throughout
James Neal scored his league-high ninth goal and the host Edmonton Oilers won for the seventh time in eight games to open the season by edging the slumping Detroit Red Wings 2-1 on Friday.
Ethan Bear scored the other goal for the Oilers, while Darnell Nurse assisted on both tallies. Mikko Koskinen, who stopped a career-high 49 shots in a 6-3 victory over Philadelphia on Wednesday, made 25 saves for Edmonton.
Defenseman Mike Green scored the lone goal for Detroit but his team lost its fourth straight, including three consecutive on the road. Jonathan Bernier made 35 saves for Detroit, which had given up five goals in each of their three previous losses during the slide.
The Oilers were credited with 24 hits, compared with 15 by the Wings. Only three penalties were called, and neither side scored with the man advantage.
The teams combined for 27 shots on goal in the opening period, but none got past the goal line.
The Oilers took a 2-1 lead in the second while outshooting Detroit 15-6.
Neal scored on a rebound to break the scoreless deadlock at 7:39. Nurse took a shot from the point, and Bernier made the stop. Alex Chiasson got a piece of the puck before Neal fired it into the net.
Bear made it 2-0 with his shot from the right point that got past a screened Bernier. Nurse and Leon Draisaitl were credited with the assists at 12:22.
Green got the Wings on the board at 16:37. He scored from the high slot after Tyler Bertuzzi won a battle for the puck behind Edmonton’s net. Madison Bowey also picked up an assist.
The Oilers clung to that lead throughout the final 20 minutes.
Detroit’s Dylan Larkin clanged a shot off the crossbar with two minutes remaining. Larkin led the Wings with four shots on goal while Nurse, a defenseman, led the Oilers with five.
The teams split their two-game series last season with each side winning on the road.
—Field Level Media