Detroit Red Wings Head Into All-Star Break With a Win Escape Sweep

EDMONTON, AB - JANUARY 22: Alex Chiasson #39 of the Edmonton Oilers lets a shot go as Darren Helm #43 and goaltender Jimmy Howard #35 of the Detroit Red Wings defend the net on January 22, 2019 at Rogers Place in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. (Photo by Andy Devlin/NHLI via Getty Images)
EDMONTON, AB - JANUARY 22: Alex Chiasson #39 of the Edmonton Oilers lets a shot go as Darren Helm #43 and goaltender Jimmy Howard #35 of the Detroit Red Wings defend the net on January 22, 2019 at Rogers Place in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. (Photo by Andy Devlin/NHLI via Getty Images) /

The Detroit Red Wings pick up a win against the Edmonton Oilers to escape being swept on their Canadian road trip. The Red Wings completely outplay Oilers after a slow start to be able to head into the All-Star break coming off of a win.

Last night, the Detroit Red Wings defeated the Edmonton Oilers 3-2 and avoided being swept on their Canadian road trip. Instead, the Red Wings will head to the long 9-day break with a good win behind them. Being in last place, the Red Wings pick up 2 points and move away from last place, but still dwelling near the very bottom of the standings.

The Red Wings sent Tyler Bertuzzi, Dylan Larkin, Gustav Nyquist, Danny Dekeyser, and Nick Jensen out as starters. Coach Jeff Blashill also left Dennis Cholowski out of his second straight game as a healthy scratch for the Red Wings. The netminders were Jimmy Howard for the Red Wings and Mikko Koskinen for the Edmonton Oilers.

The Red Wings started off the game very slowly, in fact, both teams did, and the game was very hard to watch to be quite honest. The first period looked like two teams making lazy passes left and right with chip in after chip in. The Oilers managed 7 shots from bad angles while the Red Wings would forecheck and press the net creating 11 shots through the first.

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The only positive takeaways for each team from the first period would be that Jimmy Howard made some good saves on the bad angle shots and Mikko Koskinen made some decent saves on the Red Wings forwards especially when they would drive to the net.

The second period is where the game was broken open by the Red Wings, maybe not goal wise right away, but the beginning of the period brought a completely different Detroit Red Wings team. The Red Wings began to play much better; passes were better and overall forecheck improved and defensive positioning was much more consistent.

The Oilers, on the other hand, struggled in every aspect, they tried to run a “dump and chase” offense but provided next to nothing on a forecheck, and they looked lost in the defensive zone. Dylan Larkin kicked off the scoring for the Red Wings by scoring a beautiful give-and-go goal on a pass with Nyquist. Larkin’s 21st goal of the year came when walked in after the give-and-go pass from Nyquist and buried a goal short side on goaltender Mikko Koskinen.

Later in the second, Darren Helm carried the puck into the zone, pulled up above the circle, waited for Luke Glendening to beat his man to the net and then fed Glendening with a beautiful pass that he redirected into the back of the net to give the Red Wings a 2-0 lead.

The Detroit Red Wings would carry this 2-0 lead into the second intermission, Howard faced 17 shots through two periods stopping all of them. Howard really made some nice saves, the Oilers took some off-angled shots, but they had a few nice cross crease passes that Howard played very well.

The third period started with the same intensity as the second, the Red Wings were all over the Oilers, and it seemed like Connor McDavid was one of the very few Oilers who had any energy out there. The Oilers finally started to turn things around with just over 15 minutes left in the game when Darnell Nurse put a shot on net that was tipped by Alex Chiasson.

The shot hit Howard in the shoulder and ended up on Leon Draisaitl‘s stick who jammed it home to bring the game to 2-1. The Red Wings were not done yet though; they wanted to ensure their lead, and Luke Glendening made something out of nothing for his second of the night. Glendening drove the net, beating Alex Petrovic and from a terrible angle, he found a sliver of open area to squeeze the puck between Koskinen and the post for his second of the night to increase the lead to 3-1.

After taking an awkward hit, Tyler Bertuzzi grabbed his head and skated directly to the bench and went right into the tunnel followed by the trainer; he would not return. With 2:26 left on the clock, the Oilers pulled their goalie and the Oilers top two forwards played a game of pitch and catch until they caught Howard sleeping, sending it out to the point where Matt Benning sent a slapshot off the post and into the back of the net to make it a 3-2 game.

Howard actually fell going across the crease, it appeared to be the fault of Danny Dekeyser who had his leg in Howard’s way, he also appeared to be screened, and it left Benning with a wide open net to blast a shot home.

The Red Wings would hold on for the 3-2 win against the Oilers. The Oilers outshot the Detroit Red Wings 34-26. Howard made 32 saves for the Red Wings helping produce their win, while Koskinen made 23 saves for the Oilers. Things that I noticed that you might not be able to see based off the statistics of the game were that Mike Green did a good job being the quarterback of the power play.

They did not score on the power play, but Green was out there, and the power play produced some good shots. Andreas Athanasiou, who tallied 2 assists, did a great job especially when out there with Larkin and it seems like we should see more of that (hopefully with Mantha.) The Oilers looked bad, really bad and the Red Wings took advantage of that and exploited the Oilers struggles.

All-in-all, the Detroit Red Wings, picked up a much-needed win last night, they are now on a 9-day break coming off the win. Howard will head to San Jose for the All-Star game and others will spend time with family or go on a vacation, either way, the Red Wings players get some time off to reset and come back ready to go for the rest of the 2018-19 season.

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At the conclusion of the game, the Edmonton Oilers parted ways with their General Manager and president of hockey operations Peter Chiarelli.