EDMONTON - The Red Wings have generally done well in the second game of a back-to-back, but they weren't playing the Edmonton Oilers.
Edmonton scored first and had an answer for every Detroit attempt at a comeback, winning 4-3 at Rogers Place.
Petr Mrazek, who started both games of the back-to-back, made 34 saves in the loss.
1. Darren Helm : At the beginning of the season, playing with Thomas Vanek and Gustav Nyquist, Helm got off to a hot start offensively. That was derailed when he suffered a dislocated shoulder on Nov. 15 and missed 28 games. Helm scored the game's first goal in Calgary and then scored in Edmonton on a breakaway in the third period. Helm now has eight goals in 35 games.
Quotable: "That early goal in Calgary, I just feel like I'm handling the puck better, skating a little bit harder. We seem to have some chemistry with Abby (Justin Abdelkader) and Larks (Dylan Larkin). That makes it a lot easier. I'm just kind of going right now." - Helm
2. Jeff Blashill: At every arena, the public address announcer tells you to pay attention and beware of flying pucks. Blashill found out the hard way as Riley Sheahan's backhanded puck hit him about three minutes into the first period over his left eye. Trainer Piet Van Zant had to tend to him there. Blashill received three stitches. Blashill said he had never had it happen before while he was on the bench.
Quotable: "I'm fine. It's unfortunate. I just didn't see it coming." - Blashill
3. Dylan Larkin : Blashill has talked for several weeks about the improvement that he has seen in Larkin recently, improvement that might not necessarily be noticed by the average observer. At the same time, offensive players like to produce points and Larkin is no exception. Against the Oilers, Larkin had the pass to Helm for the breakaway goal to cut the Oilers lead to 3-2 and then was able to score himself from the left doorstep with 35 seconds left in regulation to cut the Oilers lead to 4-3. His line with Helm and Justin Abdelkader seems to have found some chemistry.
Quotable: "I think we're working. We're working hard and we're hunting pucks in the offensive zone and you play with a guy like Helmer, he's really fast, really quick and he's going to be there first on the forecheck and same with Justin. I think all three of us like to be in there on the forecheck and I think we're all reading off each other now and going to the spots where we're anticipating the pucks are going and then when you play with two guys that are strong on pucks, it makes it fun. You can keep pucks alive in the offensive zone. It was nice to find Helmer on the breakaway and he did a good job burying it." - Larkin
4. Connor McDavid: You really can't discuss the Oilers without mentioning their young captain, Connor McDavid. At just 20 years of age, McDavid is leading the league in scoring. Just 1:41 into the game, McDavid appeared to be moved toward the outside by Xavier Ouellet, but McDavid just accelerated to the net, beating Petr Mrazek with a backhand shot. McDavid also assisted on the Oilers' game-winning goal by Patrick Maroon at 14:02 of the third, giving him 74 points, four points more than Chicago's Patrick Kane.
Quotable: "He's got a lot of gifts, a lot of talents. Obviously you see his speed. Today I got to be able to see his hands, his quickness, his smarts. He's a smart player out there. He already knows that guys are keying on him and he's able to distribute the puck very well. He's going to be a dangerous player for a very long time." - Helm