EDMONTON – The furthest thing from an offensive defenseman, Kyle Quincey understandably revels in every goal he scores, like Tuesday’s game-tying goal that jump started Detroit’s comeback against the Edmonton Oilers.
“They’re definitely nice when they come,” said Quincey, who now has two goals in his past 55 regular-season games. “I threw it off the shin pad just like I was trying to do and then opened up the corner and put it in.”
Quincey’s 25th career goal – and his first ever against the Oilers – pulled the Red Wings even midway through the second period at Rexall Place.
Less than eight minutes after Quincey’s tying goal, forward Justin Abdelkader gave the Wings a 2-1 lead, redirecting a point shot by Niklas Kronwall late in the second period. It was Abdelkader’s 10th of the season, tying his career high.
However, the turning point came with 2:29 left in regulation when Oilers forward Benoit Pouliot speared Jonathan Ericsson behind the Red Wings’ net. The ill-advised move gave Detroit a four-minute power play.
“That wasn’t very smart, so we can thank him for that one,” Quincey said. “That was very timely for us.”
The Wings capitalized on the ensuing man advantage scoring twice in the final minute as Pouliot sat in the box. Pavel Datsyuk was credited with his 14th goal of the season when the puck appeared to be accidentally directed into the net by Oilers forward Matt Hendricks. Luke Glendening capped the scoring with an empty-net goal at 19:57.
“That was a huge turn of events,” Gustav Nyquist said. “I thought we played well. I thought we had a strong game. We didn’t give them any chances but they have some skilled forwards and they put it in the net to tie it up (in the third). Obviously that was a big penalty for us to get that power-play goal at the end.”
It was good to see the Red Wings’ defense contribute offensively, especially since they’ve had a lack of defensive scoring this season, and it hasn’t gone unnoticed by the coaching staff.
“That matters to me a lot. We work on it every single day. You can ask our D. Every single day,” coach Mike Babcock said. “You are what you are.”
Going into Tuesday’s league schedule, the Wings’ defense was ranked tied for 22nd overall in goals scored and tied for 18th in points. Detroit defensemen have combined to score 14 goals, all but three while at even strength.
“I always say it’s gravy every time we can chip in on the offense,” Quincey said. “We don’t rely on it, but when it does happen the chances are we’re going to win because we don’t really rely on the D scoring, but when we do it’s an added bonus. Hopefully we can continue doing it. It would be nice.”
The Red Wings had 41 shots on Oilers goalie Viktor Fasth, 10 from defensemen and a season-high five by Quincey.
“Obviously that’s great to see. It helps out the team when the D scores,” Nyquist said. “I thought the D did a great job today. They had a lot of shots on net and they found a way to get the pucks through and that’s what we need.”