Oh, oh, suddenly history looks prepared to repeat itself with the league leading Detroit Red wings. The Wings gave home ice advantage back to the Oilers on Saturday afternoon, as Edmonton put on a display of puck control in the second period that set them up nicely for a frantic finish in the third. When the final whistle had blown, the Oilers were 3-2 winners on the scoreboard and 3-2 leaders in the best of seven series.
Edmonton took a three to nothing lead in the second period as they took advantage of a shaky day for Red Wing goaltender Manny Legace, the Oilers scored two goals on the first seven shots before Legace settled down in the red wing net. By games end Legace had faced only nineteen shots while Dwayne Roloson in the Edmonton net had faced thirty two Red Wing shots on goal.
Heading into the third period with a 3-1 lead the Oilers returned to a more defensive shell of a game, defending their zone nicely, deflecting shots, taking the body and allowing Roloson good vision to handle those shots that did get through. Roloson stood up well in the Oiler net, providing a comfort zone for the Oilers who have had troubles keeping a lead through this series that was not a problem on Saturday.
Penalties did not come back to haunt the Oilers as the Wings were unable to take advantage of the six man advantage situations that came their way. Frustration must be building in the Red Wing camp as they continued to outshoot the Oilers but couldn’t solve the Roloson riddle this time around.
They now have all the pressure on their red and white shoulders, having been down this road in playoffs past and been unable to turn around a situation that suddenly gets beyond their control. They now need to win two games to stay alive, while Edmonton needs only one to advance.
It should make for a noisy and wild crowd at Rexall Place Monday night; the Oilers stand ready to upset the team with the highest point total in the regular season. It’s a feat that once again will prove; that it’s not where you end up in the standings, as long as you end up in the playoffs. So far, the Oilers are making the best of their opportunity to launch yet another upset in a first round, something that the Red Wings unfortunately seem to have more than a passing bit of knowledge about.