DETROIT -- It was the same situation the Red Wings found themselves in their last game against the St. Louis Blues, protecting a one-goal lead late in the third period and on the penalty kill.
The Blues managed to score a power-play goal to knot the score and eventually won the game, 5-4, in overtime.
This time, however, against the most lethal power play in the league, the Red Wings held on, defeating the Edmonton Oilers, 3-1, before a festive Halloween crowd Tuesday night at Little Caesars Arena.
Dylan Larkin (power play), Patrik Nemeth and Filip Hronek (empty net) scored for the Red Wings, who improve to 4-8-1 on the year.
Leon Draisaitl scored the Oilers' goal with Connor McDavid, playing in his 300th career game, picking up the lone assist.
Jimmy Howard, as he has been throughout the season, provided the Wings with sound goaltending, stopping 31 of the 32 shots he faced for a .969 save percentage. It was Howard's second victory of the campaign.
Mikko Koskinen was in the Edmonton net and suffered his first loss of the season. He now stands at 5-1 on the year, making 25 saves on the 27 shots Detroit fired his way for a .926 save percentage.
Detroit concluded its three-game homestand with a 1-1-1 record and now hits the road for back-to-back games Friday against Carolina and Saturday night in Florida versus the Panthers. Edmonton will get right back at it, playing the second of back-to-back contests when it takes on the Blue Jackets Wednesday in Columbus.
1. Patrik Nemeth: The Wings signed Nemeth primarily for his defensive prowess but they will gladly accept offensive help from the blue line. At 8:33 of the first period, Nemeth took the puck into the left circle and fired a shot past Koskinen to give Detroit a 2-0 lead. Valtteri Filppula and Madison Bowey had the assists on Nemeth's first goal with the Wings, his fifth career goal overall. It also marked Nemeth's first goal in 71 games, his last coming Nov. 21, 2018 at Los Angeles. It was Nemeth's first career point in 12 games against the Oilers. Nemeth finished with 23 shifts for 23:48, second only to Filip Hronek's 26:06, had two shots, one hit, two blocked shots and was plus-1.
Quotable: "It was nice. They have a lot of good offensive threats, so it was early in the game still. We just had to continue to play the way we did and the way we played, especially in the third period last game, and bring it and play like we did tonight." - Nemeth
Quotable II: "Patrik's really good at what he does. Patrik is really good at what he's good at and it's a lesson for a lot of guys in the league. Everybody comes in and most of them are offensive and they want to be whatever. He's a great defender and he knows what he is and he plays within himself. He blocks shots, moves the puck up, he does all those things really well. And he's a real team player. All he wants to do is win hockey games. He's been a real good addition." - Wings coach Jeff Blashill
2. Dylan Larkin: Ever since Larkin called himself out after the 2-0 shutout loss to the Buffalo Sabres, he has two goals and an assist in the subsequent two games. With Draisaitl in the box for boarding Tyler Bertuzzi, Larkin quickly drove to the net and lifted the puck into the top left corner at 7:41 of the first, giving the Wings a 1-0 lead. Taro Hirose and Bertuzzi had the assists on the goal, Larkin's fourth of the season. Oddly, it was Larkin's first power-play point of the season. On the other hand, all of Hirose's five assists this season have come with the man-advantage. Bertuzzi has pulled ahead of Anthony Mantha for the team lead in points with 13 (5-8-13) to Mantha's 12 (7-5-12). Larkin's energetic play wowed those in attendance, especially when he caught McDavid at the end of a shift and broke in on Koskinen, who made a nice save at 11:12 of the second. Larkin also assisted on Hronek's empty-net goal and now has 11 points (4-7-11). It is the third straight season Larkin has collected at least 10 points in the first month of the campaign. Since the 1979-80 season, Larkin is the only Wings player to reach 10-plus points in three consecutive Octobers before turning 24 years old.
Quotable: "It's a great feeling. I guess it's a relief for us. I think it was building, though, the good feeling. It's not just tonight. It wasn't just a fluke. It was the way we built the past couple of games. We didn't get the result we wanted but we stuck with it, played against a great team and we gutted it out. They have great players over there, they're gonna make plays. Our goalie was our best player. We need that and it feels pretty good in the room right now." - Larkin
Quotable II: "Larks plays his best hockey when he matches up against other teams' best, I've said that for a long time. His No. 1 quality as a hockey player is his competitiveness more than anything else. He's fast and all that stuff but No. 1 is his will to win. The fact that he can skate and he's strong, he can skate with McDavid, Helmer (Darren Helm) can skate with McDavid, Helmer can skate with McDavid, Bert's real smart, so it gives us a line that can really play against them. Draisaitl is big and strong, but overall until the third, I thought we did a really good job. I think you make them defend as much as possible and just make it a hard night on them. They got going in the third and had some real looks." - Blashill
3. Jimmy Howard/late penalty kill: For a goalie, there probably is no greater challenge than facing a line that has Draisaitl and McDavid on it. The two are right behind Boston's David Pastrnak (12-12-24), with Draisaitl scoring 10 goals among his 22 points and McDavid tied with Washington's John Carlson for the league lead in assists with 16. But Howard was up to the task, particularly when the Oilers had the man-advantage late in the game. Draisaitl scored at 12:48 of the third, cutting the Wings' lead to 2-1. After Andreas Athanasiou and Darnell Nurse were called for roughing at 13:09, Larkin ended up in the box for hooking Draisaitl at 13:35, meaning the Oilers would have a lengthy 4-on-3 chance to tie the game. But Howard and the Wings' penalty killers prevented that from happening, even though the Oilers had four shots. The Oilers finished 0-for-3 on the power play, the first time their league-leading power play failed to convert when given three or more chances. Howard faced 17 shots in the third and stopped all but one.
Quotable: "I thought we did a great job taking away Draisaitl's one timer there. He's pretty dangerous when it comes to that. Usually when your PK's great, your goaltender's great and he's your best penalty killer, and Howie made a huge save there on the 4-on-3. You need a big save and a big block and we got both of those." - Larkin
Quotable II: "It was massive, we had so much help from both forwards and 'D' on those seam passes. They did a great job. I think Fil (Filip Hronek) and Nemo (Patrik Nemeth) there killed the full two minutes, so it goes to show you the type of character we've got in the room. There was a lot of guys willing to sacrifice their bodies and willing to take a beating to hold on in those final minutes." - Joe Hicketts
Quotable III: "We had to find a way to win a game, so it's huge. Just from a confidence standpoint. We're focusing on process here and I thought the last number of games, our process has been pretty good overall, certainly better than it was in that Ottawa game, but you have to win to breed confidence, so that's a huge way to find a way to win and the kill was excellent. Guys made some defensive plays, good sticks in lanes, those types of things. I think Howie made some real saves. That's how you win in this league. That's how we won tonight." - Blashill