Ryan Nugent-Hopkins scored the winner on the power play with 19.2 seconds left in the second period as the Edmonton Oilers secured a 2-1 win in Detroit Sunday afternoon.
“Two good eastern conference teams — and to win by a goal in each game — it’s something that we haven’t done too much of in the past.” remarked Nugent-Hopkins. “And to be able to start turning those in our favour is going to be huge. That’s what makes or breaks seasons.”
It’s the Oilers first victory in Detroit since December of 2009, ending a ten-game winless run at Joe Louis Arena.
Jonas Gustavsson made his first start of the season and made 22 saves, allowing only a first period power play goal by Justin Abdelkader.
“I just tried to put a lot of focus on the practices and that way at least you know you did everything you could to prepare yourself for the game, and that gives you the confidence because then it’s just go out and play,” explained Gustavsson. “You’re not going to worry about what you could have done differently, so you just go out and play. And, obviously, you need some support too; and like we talked about tonight we played a solid game, a good team game, and that helped me out too.”
Tyler Pitlick tied it 1-1 late in the first, tucking a wrap around behind Jimmy Howard.
Just eight seconds into a man advantage late in the second period, Nugent-Hopkins took pass from Connor McDavid and wired a shot right under the crossbar.
The Oilers held the Wings to just four shots in the third period.
Taylor Beck played his first game as an Oiler, having been called up from Bakersfield earlier in the day. Anton Slepyshev also returned to action. He and Beck filled in for the injured Jesse Puljujarvi and Zack Kassian.
The Oilers are 9-3-1 on the season and 2-1-1 with a game to go on their five-game road trip. It ends Tuesday in Pittsburgh. (jrw/td)