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Oilers blow lead but top Wings 3-2 in shootout

by Brian Hunter

Winning his first NHL game was well worth the wait for Edmonton Oilers goaltender Devan Dubnyk.

The rookie stopped Pavel Datsyuk and Valtteri Filppula in the shootout as the Oilers held off the Detroit Red Wings on Friday night for a 3-2 win atRexall Place

Dubnyk was less than a second away from picking up the milestone win in regulation. Another Oilers rookie, defenseman Theo Peckham, had fallen on the puck in the corner while in a scrum with several Red Wings. With the final seconds ticking away, Peckham relinquished control of the puck and Datsyuk found Brian Rafalski cutting to the net for a shot that went in with five-tenths of a second left.

Video review confirmed Rafalski beat the final horn, and the stunned Oilers went to overtime instead of celebrating with their young goalie. But they regrouped and got the game to a shootout, where Ryan Potulny and Gilbert Brule scored on their first two shots against Jimmy Howard.

Jason Williams kept the Wings alive by beating Dubnyk in the second round, but he denied Filppula's last-ditch effort to prolong the game. Dubnyk, who was appearing in his 14th career game and had an 0-8-2 record entering Friday, finished with 31 saves.

"It didn't feel good," Dubnyk said of the late goal. "I mean it was pretty crazy how they got one with .02 seconds or whatever it was. I tried not to think 'Oh no! How is this happening?'

"I just tried to tell myself to not let anything get by me in the five-minute overtime and try to win the shootout."

The victory was a relief not only to Dubnyk but to his coach, Pat Quinn.

"We did what a bottom-place team does -- we backed off and gave them lots of room at the end," he said. "Dubnyk was really good, in the third period especially. You never think a puck is going to go in with less than a second left. But we've had that happen to us earlier this season as well.

"But at the end of the night it was thankfully a great result for him. I think everybody is really happy for him."

Rafalski's goal ensured Detroit wouldn't fall out of eighth in the Western Conference, although they were tied in points as the result of Calgary's 4-3 win over San Jose. Both teams have 81 points, though the Wings own the tiebreaker by virtue of having played one fewer game.

Edmonton raced out to a 2-0 lead before five minutes had elapsed in the first period. Andrew Cogliano beat Howard just 57 seconds after the opening faceoff and Ryan Whitney scored his first goal since being acquired from the Ducks at the trade deadline, snapping a shot past Howard at 4:58. Brule assisted on both tallies.

"It wasn't because we took them lightly," said Howard, who finished with 22 saves. "We knew they were going to come out hard, but we didn't get our legs under us until about 15 minutes into the first period and that was the game."

Patrick Eaves got the Wings on the board with 8:09 left in the second, taking a Kris Draper feed from behind the net and beating Dubnyk with a slap shot. Detroit outshot the Oilers 17-3 in the third, but it appeared that would be for naught until Howard left the net for an extra attacker and a wild scramble in the final seconds led to Rafalski's equalizer.

"In the end it was a huge point for us, obviously," Detroit coach Mike Babcock said. "But in saying that, we would have liked to have been better at the start."

Material from wire services and team broadcast media was used in this report.

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