Kronwall scores OT winner to lift Red Wings over Oilers 4-3
DETROIT (AP) Niklas Kronwall had a chaotic shift in overtime but it will be a play in the first few minutes of the game that his teammates will remember.
Kronwall scored on a two-on-one break 26 seconds into extra time to lift the Detroit Red Wings over the Edmonton Oilers 4-3 on Friday night. It came just moments after he nearly gave the game away.
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins stripped Kronwall of the puck 10 seconds in and he was saved when Dylan Larkin and Henrik Zetterberg kept the Oilers from getting a shot.
Moments later, Larkin and Kronwall were headed the other way. Kronwall one-timed Larkin's pass over Cam Talbot's glove for his first goal of the season.
''Larks just made a great play,'' Kronwall said. ''He and Hank swarmed the puck and then we were going the other way. He held on and held on and then put the pass right on my stick, so I knew I had to at least get it on the net. Luckily, it went in.''
Talbot said he was waiting for Larkin to shoot, but the rookie surprised him.
''I don't know how that pass got through Oscar (Klefbom),'' he said. ''But he got it over there, and I thought Kronwall would go short side, and he didn't.''
Kronwall's first highlight-reel play came in the opening minutes when he leveled Mark Letestu with an open-ice hit.
''I didn't see it, because I was on the ice, but I heard it, and I knew it was a big one,'' said Tomas Tatar. ''I think Nik wanted to remind the league he's still back there.''
The hit resonated. Not only did it fire up the crowd and the team, but it got the Red Wings a power play when Matt Hendricks jumped Kronwall in retaliation.
''It's great to see that Nik still has that in his arsenal, because when he hits guys, it has an impact for the rest of the game,'' Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill said. ''They start coming out of their own zone more carefully and looking around for him.''
Detroit has now gone six games without losing in regulation.
Larkin, Gustav Nyquist and Tatar also scored for Detroit, while Iiro Pakarinen scored twice for the Oilers and Andrej Sekera added another.
''It is nice to score some goals, but at the end of the night, we lost the game,'' Pakarinen said. ''So you can't be happy.''
Detroit dominated the first period, but continued its recent struggles to put the puck in the net. The Wings finally took the lead at 5:11 of the second when Talbot made a save on Tatar's shot, but the rebound was left in front of the net, where players from both teams swiped at it.
It appeared that an Oilers player accidentally knocked the puck past Talbot, but credit was given to Nyquist. The Red Wings made it 2-0 at 12:07 of the period, taking advantage of a sloppy Edmonton line change to get a three-on-two break that Tatar finished off on a pass from Nyquist.
''It looked like we were very confident in the first half of that game,'' said Oilers coach Todd McLellan.
NOTES: Red Wings G Petr Mrazek was presented with his 2014-15 team Rookie of the Year award before the game. . Pakarinen came into the game with two career goals in 31 games over the last two seasons
This story has been corrected to show that Dylan Larkin is a rookie, not Niklas Kronwall.