Oilers survive late Red Wings push to claim victory
Edmonton sits 2nd in Pacific Division with 78 points
It was a good start to a critical stretch for the Edmonton Oilers.
Connor McDavid had a goal and an assist as the Oilers opened an eight-game homestand with a 4-3 victory over the Detroit Red Wings on Saturday.
Zack Kassian, Jordan Eberle and Patrick Maroon also scored for the Oilers (35-22-8), who have won two games in a row.
"Usually you come back from a trip and you don't come out as strong," Eberle said. "It was important to get a good start on this homestand and we did that. We are in a position where we should feel confident in our game.
"I'm not saying we have earned the right to be cocky, but we have earned the right to feel good about our team and confident that we should go out and win the games."
Edmonton also plays 11 of the next 13 games and 12 of its final 17 games at Rogers Place.
Anthony Mantha, Darren Helm and Dylan Larkin responded for the Red Wings (25-27-11), who have lost two straight.
"We've been close, we've had opportunities, we just haven't been able to score goals in a timely fashion," Helm said. "I think, for the most part, our effort has been there, we just haven't found ways to put pucks in the net.
"I feel it's the story of our season."
McDavid continues tear
McDavid turned on the jets to blaze past a pair of defenders and beat Detroit goalie Petr Mrazek on the backhand for his 22nd goal of the season just two minutes into the game.
Mantha tied it up for the Red Wings with five minutes left in the opening period. Henrik Zetterberg fed it in front to Mantha, and he sent his 14th of the season past Oilers starting goalie Cam Talbot.
Matt Hendricks gave the home fans a rise late in the first, hammering Detroit's Ryan Sproul with a hit that send him flying into his own bench.
Seconds later it was 2-1 for Edmonton, as newcomer David Desharnais won a draw back to Adam Larsson and his point shot was tipped in by Kassian.
There was no scoring in the second period, with Edmonton holding a 27-12 edge in shots after 40 minutes.
The Oilers took a 3-1 lead seven minutes into the third as Eberle picked off a pass and beat Mrazek on a backhand shot.
Detroit cut into that lead midway through the third as Helm was sent in on a breakaway and put a shot through Talbot's legs.
Edmonton made it 4-2 with six minutes left as Leon Draisaitl put it in front to Maroon for his 21st of the season.
The Red Wings made for a terse final 35 seconds after Larkin scored with Detroit's goalie pulled.
"It was definitely not a perfect game," McDavid said. "We made some mistakes and it almost cost us, but we found a way to win."
Both teams are off until Tuesday, when the Red Wings travel to Toronto and the Oilers play host to the New York Islanders.