EDMONTON, Alberta (AP) - The Detroit Red Wings are finally starting to come around on the road.
Drew Miller scored with 4:15 remaining in the third period and the Red Wings beat the Edmonton Oilers 3-2 on Monday night, evening their road record to 8-8.
Miller's goal came on a deflection off a shot from the point by Niklas Lidstrom. It was Detroit's third goal of the game that came on a tip-in.
Dan Cleary and Jiri Hudler also scored for Detroit, which has won 12 of its last 15 games.
The Red Wings are an impressive 13-2-1 at home, but have struggled on the road this season, making it a relief to get back to even in that category.
``That's a stat we hear about a lot. It's nice to be back to .500,' Detroit forward Henrik Zetterberg said. ``We didn't have our best game. They were skating a lot better than we did. But we kept grinding away and that's important to do on the road. It's a good start to this road trip as we have two more before we go home for Christmas.'
Lidstrom agreed Detroit's hard work was the difference.
``We were tied heading into the third on the road and we just wanted to grind it out and not open ourselves up defensively,' he said. ``We wanted to wait for our opportunity and our third line had a great night tonight. It was great to see Miller get that winning goal tonight. It's something we have to continue to build on.'
Ryan Jones and Jordan Eberle had Edmonton's goals. The Oilers have lost four in a row and nine of 11.
``We played hard and I felt we were with them every step of the way,' Oilers coach Tom Renney said. ``We worked hard and did a lot of good things. We have to stick with it. We can't feel sorry for ourselves. No one is going to hand you points. We have a couple of games to build on now and maybe we can start winning again.'
Detroit started the scoring 4 1/2 minutes into the first period when Cleary deftly redirected a backhand shot by Jakub Kindl past Oilers goalie Nikolai Khabibulin.
Edmonton had its chances on Red Wings goalie Jimmy Howard, particularly Taylor Hall, who hit a post and had a puck heading toward an open net on a partial breakaway that was fished safely away by Detroit's Brad Stuart.
The Oilers tied the game less than three minutes into the second period as Sam Gagner chipped a puck up ice to give Jones a breakaway. Jones made the most of the opportunity, burying his 11th through Howard's legs.
The Red Wings went up 2-1 with 4 minutes remaining in the second period after a giveaway by Ryan Whitney allowed them to gain the Edmonton zone and Hudler was able to tip a shot by Zetterberg into the net.
Edmonton tied the game once again on a power-play goal with 0.5 seconds left in the second period as a Ryan Nugent-Hopkins shot that was blocked in front was picked up by Eberle in the slot and rifled home.
Khabibulin came up big seven minutes into the third period to keep it a 2-2 game, making a huge stop on a point-blank shot from Zetterberg.
Notes: The Red Wings won the only previous meeting between the two teams 3-0 in Detroit in November. Detroit came into the game with a six-game winning streak against Edmonton and had earned points in 19 of their last 20 games against the Oilers. ... Detroit was beginning a three-game Western Canada trip in four nights. ... Detroit forward Jan Mursak (fractured ankle) has returned to practices, but is expected to head to Grand Rapids (AHL) for a conditioning stint after Christmas. Detroit forward Patrick Eaves (fractured jaw) and Chris Conner (fractured hand) are also recovering. ... Edmonton D Cam Barker (ankle) is still out until likely February. ... Detroit forward Valterri Filppula is on pace to surpass his career-high 40 point season, with 26 points in 31 games.
The Associated Press News Service
The Associated Press
All Rights Reserved