Brad Winchester probably never expected to see his name listed in the Stanley Cup headlines in the first round series with the Red Wings. In fact, so unsure was Winchester of his place with this Oiler team at times, he didn’t even bother to bring the family to Detroit from Wisconsin to see the game.
Hope they had the TV on! Winchester became an instant hero in Edmonton as his goal with a buck fourteen to go in the second gave the Oilers a 3-2 lead over the Wings, a lead that would not be overcome as Edmonton locked down the Wing attack through the third and adding a insurance marker in the late third for a 4-2 victory.
Winchester has been up and down on the Oiler club all year, a fixture with Hamilton for most of the season he was recalled on March 29th for his last on ice appearance in the Oiler colours. Sunday, Craig MacTavish penciled him into the line up for George Laraque giving him the chance to skate with Ryan Smyth and Shawn Horcoff.
Winchester and Laraque were used to replace the injured winger Ethan Moreau. Prior to Winchester’s excitement it appeared that the Red Wings were going to be in control of the flow of the game as they took a 2-1 lead by the middle of the second period, but the last five minutes gave the Oil two quick goals and from there Wing coach Babcock felt the control of the game slipped away to the Oilers.
Dwayne Roloson once again played solid goal for the Oilers, who with a few breaks on Friday could have been leaving the Joe with a 2-0 lead in the series. Roloson faced 35 shots compared to Manny Legaces 24 shot total. The key save for Roloson a point blank stopping of Henrik Zetterberg with nine minutes to go in the game, shutting down the Red Wing sniper and shutting the door to the attempts of a Red Wing comeback. The game did generate a bit of controversy as Marc Andre Bergeron let go of his stick during a slide to defend, but no penalty was called at the time.
Game three moves on to Edmonton on Tuesday, the crowd in Edmonton will be delirious with the hard battling Oilers return. No doubt holding a special cheer for the call up kid Winchester, they’ll be standing in the rows waiting to see if lightning will strike twice.