Red Wings Get Back on Track, Rout Oilers 8-3
Fourteen Detroit players notched points as the Wings got eight goals from eight different players to win their third straight and get their 34th win of the season.
The game was over by the end of the first period as Detroit took a 5-0 lead, out shooting Edmonton 16-5. Brian Rafalski and Marian Hossa both scored on the power play and Pavel Datsyuk, Brett Lebda, and Daniel Cleary scored on even strength.
Hossa’s goal gave him 29 on the season, fifth in the league, and ties his total from all last season with Pittsburgh and Atlanta.
Nicklas Lidstrom scored the only goal of the second period to make it 6-0.
Edmonton rallied in the third thanks to goals by Zack Stortini, Dustin Penner, and Marc-Antoine Pouliot to make it 6-3 but Detroit answered with goals by Mikael Samuelsson and Ville Leino just 14 seconds apart.
Ty Conklin improved to 17-7-1, winning for the first time since January 15th in Los Angeles after losing three straight. He made 23 saves.
Conklin got the start in hopes that Chris Osgood can get back on track as coach Mike Babcock stated on the radio Friday afternoon. Babcock and Osgood dispelled any rumors that there is a feud between them.
"When you're a coach, everyone in your room isn't going to be in love with you everyday," Babcock said. "That's the facts. I'm not looking for that. I'm just looking for them to be the best they can be. Do I think Chris Osgood is a phenomenal person? Absolutely. Do I think he's a real good goalie? Absolutely, the numbers bear that well. Do I think he's been as good as he's capable of being this year? Absolutely not.”
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Osgood is 17-4-6 this season, a good record, but his .880 save percentage ranks last in the league and it has certainly been a rough year between nagging injuries and inconsistent play.
"Mike and I talk all the time. You guys make it out like we fight all the time,” Osgood said Friday. “I won with Mike as my coach, he won with me as his goalie. You've got to put it in perspective. What matters is what happens these next 30 games, and the playoffs."
While Osgood has not been as good as years past, blame does not lie with him alone for the Red Wings struggles at time this season. The Wings have been uncharacteristically sloppy on the penalty kill, now below 78%, and has allowed far more shots on goal than years past. It’s hard to even believe that there would be a goalie controversy on a team with 75 points and sitting as the number two seed in the west.
ProHockey-fans.com Detroit Red Wings Correspondent