Sam Gagner couldn't match his eight-point performance of two nights earlier. But he did show it was no fluke -- and he and the Edmonton Oilers did go home with another victory.
Gagner followed his historic night on Thursday with three more points in the first period, and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins got the deciding goal in the shootout as the Oilers beat the Detroit Red Wings 5-4 on Saturday night.
"It's a big win for us," Gagner said. "Especially the way we did it, coming back at the end. I knew I wasn't going to get another eight-point night. But even after the points kept coming our line was still creating.
"I'm just feeling way better about how I am playing. I want the puck. I want to be the guy."
Gagner had two goals and an assist to help the Oilers to a 3-1 lead after 20 minutes, sending the Rexall Place crowd into ecstasy.
Those three points gave Gagner a point in 11 consecutive Oilers goals, breaking a team mark held by Wayne Gretzky, who twice scored or set up 10 consecutive goals for Edmonton. Over the course of the past two games Gagner scored 6 goals and added 5 assists.
The NHL record for most points over a two-game span is 14, held by both Anton and Peter Stastny, who did it for Quebec over the same two games on Feb. 20 and 22, 1981.
"I knew I wouldn't get another eight-point night," Gagner said, "but I wanted to keep contributing and I kept getting fortunate bounces."
The Oilers still led by two entering the third period before the Wings took control. Todd Bertuzzi scored his 300th career goal off a feed by Henrik Zetterberg at 2:18. Drew Miller tied it at 5:49 and Bertuzzi put the Wings ahead to stay – or so he thought – when he poked his own rebound through Devan Dubnyk's pads with 3:41 remaining.
"I thought we got a lift when we scored in the third," Wings coach Mike Babcock said. "We gave ourselves a chance just by crawling back -- and then, let's be honest, we took the game over totally. We had a lot of chances to score, but then we gave up one."
The Oilers averted an eighth consecutive loss to the Wings when Jordan Eberle batted home his second of the game with 39 seconds left in regulation and Dubnyk on the bench for an extra attacker.
"Everyone stood up and made a decision to go out there and tie it up," defenseman Ryan Whitney said. "Eberle has a thing for scoring those big goals."
Both teams had glorious chances in overtime but couldn't score, sending the game to a shootout -- the sixth for the Wings in their last 11 games.
Gagner beat Joey MacDonald, who had replaced Ty Conklin after the first period, with a slick deke in the second round of the tiebreaker. Bertuzzi blasted a slapper behind Dubnyk in the third round, but Nugent-Hopkins raced in and snapped a wrister past MacDonald in round six. Dubnyk ended the game by stopping Danny Cleary's backhander.
"Every time you get picked for the shootout there's nerves," said Nugent-Hopkins, the first player taken in the 2011 NHL Draft, who was playing for the first time since a shoulder injury on Jan. 2 knocked him out of the lineup. "I thought if I could get one good fake in, I could beat him."
The Oilers improved to 4-0-1 in their last five games and have won four straight at home. Detroit finished a three-game swing through Western Canada with a 2-0-1 record. The Wings were 6-0 in shootouts this season before Saturday.
Detroit is now 7-0-5 in its last 12 visits to Edmonton, with all five of the losses in shootouts. The single point gives them 72, three more than second-place Vancouver in the West and the Eastern Conference-leading New York Rangers.
"I always wish we had two (points)," Babcock said. "But the reality is that our guys battled hard to get us a point here. When you spot the other team three (goals) like we did, it's a long way back. I didn't think it was lack of preparation or lack of playing well, because they didn't have much -- we were able to fight our way back."
Gagner, coming off a four-goal, four-assist game against Chicago, picked up right where he left off two nights ago.
He made it nine points on as many Edmonton goals when he opened the scoring at 2:42. With the Oilers on the power play, Gagner went to the net and flipped home a rebound for his 10th of the season, half of which have come in the last two games.
Gagner then earned the only assist on Eberle's 21st of the season at 5:41. Gagner controlled the puck along the left wall and drove to the net before sliding the puck across the crease under a diving Ty Conklin. Eberle, waiting at the other post, beat linemate Taylor Hall to the puck and slammed it into the open side for a 2-0 lead.
"I thought they had better jump than we did," Wings captain Nicklas Lidstrom said. "I don't think we came out with as much energy. It took us a couple of periods to get going."
Niklas Kronwall flattened Edmonton's Ales Hemsky with a ferocious check in the offensive zone three minutes later, earning his team a four-minute power play when Oilers defenseman Corey Potter retaliated and drew a double minor for roughing. Detroit then got a 5-on-3 advantage for a full two minutes when Ladislav Smid was called for boarding 1:19 later. But the Oilers did an excellent job keeping the Wings to the outside and closing off the shooting lanes; the Wings didn't get a clean chance throughout the long advantage.
Detroit got back in the game with some help from the Oilers, who gave the Wings some life when Whitney accidentally knocked Valtteri Filppula's whiff into his own net for a shorthanded goal with 36.7 seconds left in the period. But Gagner got the goal back when his deflection of Ryan Smyth's shot went past Conklin with less than a second remaining in the period, sending the Oilers off with a 3-1 lead.
"It's crazy. I can't believe it. We won't put him in the press box just yet," joked coach Tom Renney of Gagner putting up 11 points on 11 goals by his team in less than 60 minutes of actual playing time.
The goal also ended Conklin's night – MacDonald, recalled when No. 1 goalie Jimmy Howard went down with a broken finger earlier in the week – was in goal when the teams returned to the ice for the second period.
Asked whether the goaltending change helped fire up the Wings, Bertuzzi demurred.
"If anything, we should be upset that happened to the goaltender who was starting tonight," he said. "I think everyone took it on themselves to try to get us out of that hole."
Material from team media was used in this report
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