Detroit Free Press
National Hockey League
Edmonton 4, Detroit 3
When: 10:00 PM ET, Saturday, March 4, 2017
Where: Rogers Place, Edmonton, Alberta
Referees: Marc Joannette, Ian Walsh
Linesmen: Kiel Murchison, Mark Shewchyk
Attendance: 18347

EDMONTON, Alberta -- NHL points leader Connor McDavid had the kind of game that had opposition players raving about him.

McDavid had a highlight-reel-worthy goal and an assist to pace the Edmonton to a 4-3 win over the Detroit Red Wings, as the Oilers opened up an eight-game homestand.

McDavid, who now has 74 points, opened the scoring 1:41 into the first with a highlight-reel effort, blowing around the outside of Detroit defensemen Xavier Ouellet and Ryan Sproul, then tucking a back-handed shot past the outstretched pad of Mrazek.

"He's one of a kind," Red Wings veteran Henrik Zetterberg said of the Oilers' young star. "But we all know that. His skill, when he has that speed, too, it's not many who have that."

Detroit's Darren Helm said McDavid has a unique combination of gifts.

"He's got a lot of gifts, he's got a lot of talents," Helm said. "Obviously, you see his speed, you get to see his hands, his quickness, his smarts. He's a smart player out there. He already knows guys are keying on him and he's able to distribute the puck. He's going to be a very dangerous player for a very long time."

Detroit tied it at 15:04. After a string of great saves from Mrazek kept it close, Anthony Mantha slotted home a pass from Zetterberg. Mantha and McDavid were teammates on Canada's team at the 2014 World Junior Hockey Championships.

Matt Hendricks brought the home crowd back to life with a check that sent Sproul flying into the visitors' bench. With the momentum back in their favor, the Oilers took a 2-1 lead with 22 seconds left in the first. Adam Larsson's point shot was tipped in by Zack Kassian after a clean face-off win from David Desharnais, playing his first game as an Oiler since being acquired from Montreal on Tuesday.

"Desharnais had a tremendous night," said Oilers coach Todd McLellan. "Maybe not on face-offs, but everything else, he did well. He had a lot of poise with the puck. That line had as many scoring chances as anybody else in the game."

Sproul's brutal night got even worse early in the second when skating back toward his own goal, he lost an edge and fell awkwardly. He had to be helped off the ice. He did not return with a lower-body injury.

Andreas Athanasiou had a chance to bring the Red Wings level early in the third. The puck came to him off a scramble and he had an open half of the net to shoot at, but put his effort wide.

Jordan Eberle's back-handed effort at 6:58 of the third gave the Oilers a two-goal cushion. But Helm got a breakaway goal with 9:34 left to make it 3-2.

"It was important to get a good start on this homestand and we did that," Eberle said. "We are in a position where we should feel confident in our game. I'm not saying we have earned the right to be cocky, but we have earned the right to feel good about our team and confident that we should go out and win the games."

Patrick Maroon's 21st goal with 5:58 remaining gave the Oilers a 4-2 lead, but with Mrazek pulled and 35 seconds left, Dylan Larkin got the Wings close.

The Oilers outshot the Red Wings 38-25.

McDavid said the Oilers benefitted from the fact that the Wings played in Calgary the night before, a game that stretched into overtime.

"They played last night and may have been a bit tired," said McDavid. "It was definitely not a perfect game. We made some mistakes and it almost cost us, but we found a way to win."

NOTES: With the start Saturday, Oilers G Cam Talbot has appeared in 58 games this season, tops among NHL goalies. .... Red Wings G Jimmy Howard, who hurt his knee Dec. 20, played Saturday for the team's AHL affiliate in Grand Rapids, Mich., as he works toward getting back into NHL game shape. He stopped 31 of 33 shots in a 5-2 victory over the Texas Stars. ... Oilers D Kris Russell missed the game with an undisclosed injury. ... The Oilers scratched LW Anton Slepyshev and RW Iiro Pakarinen. ... The Red Wings scratched RW Mitch Callahan. ... The Oilers did not have to kill a penalty Saturday after surrendering four power-play goals over the previous two games.
Top Game Performances
Detroit   Edmonton
Dylan Larkin 2 Points Adam Larsson 2
Dylan Larkin 1 Goals Adam Larsson 1
Henrik Zetterberg 2 Assists Adam Larsson 1
N/A Power Play Goals N/A
N/A Short Handed Goals N/A
Petr Mrazek .895 Save Percentage Cam Talbot .880
Petr Mrazek 34 Saves Cam Talbot 22
Team Stats Summary
Team Shots Goals Power Play Penalty Kill Penalty Mins Face Offs Won
Detroit 25 3 0-0 2-2 4 32
Edmonton 38 4 0-2 0-0 2 21
Upcoming Games
  • Edmonton will play their next game at home against NY Islanders. The Oilers have a W/L % of .588 after a win and .484 after a loss.
  • Detroit will play their next game on the road against Toronto. The Red Wings have a W/L % of .480 after a win and .351 after a loss.