EDMONTON – One week has made a major difference on the outlook of the Edmonton Oilers.
Connor McDavid and Teddy Purcell scored in the second period as the Oilers won their third straight with a 3-1 victory over the Detroit Red Wings on Wednesday night.
Mark Letestu opened the scoring for the Oilers (3-4-0) in the first while Nail Yakupov added a pair of assists. Edmonton snapped an eight-game losing streak against Detroit with the win.
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“It was a good win,” said Oilers head coach Todd McLellan. “It is one that we will bank and be proud of, but there are still areas of our game where we have to get better. We’re going to be saying that in February. We need to keep plugging away.”
Edmonton’s streak includes wins over Detroit, the Calgary Flames and the Vancouver Canucks — teams they lost all 12 combined games to last season.
“Game by game we are getting better as a team,” said Oilers goaltender Cam Talbot, who made 28 saves. “To come up with some timely goals and Anders (Nilsson) and I have been able to come up with some big saves, it is all coming together pretty quick here like we were hoping. Hopefully we can keep it going.”
Tomas Tatar found the back of the net for Detroit (3-3-0), which lost its third in a row.
“It was better than the last game, I think we battled harder and won some more battles,” said Red Wings forward Henrik Zetterberg. “We created a little more offence. Obviously those two quick goals hurt us. They’re pretty deadly when they get the chances.”
“We had two huge blowups and you can’t win with big blowups,” added Detroit head coach Jeff Blashill.
Edmonton went up 2-0 at 6:34 of the second period as Benoit Pouliot sent McDavid in on a breakaway and he beat Mrazek with a highlight-reel deke to score his fourth goal of the season.
The Oilers extended the lead just 30 seconds later as the rebound from a Purcell shot went off Detroit defenceman Kyle Quincey and into the Red Wings net.
Letestu helped the Oilers get on the board with a power-play goal at 12:32 of the first period. Yakupov made a perfect feed in front of the net and Letestu was able to direct the puck past Red Wings goaltender Petr Mrazek. It was Letestu’s first goal in an Edmonton uniform.
The Oilers had 11 first period shots to Detroit’s five on Talbot, who made a couple of huge glove saves on a late Red Wings power play.
Detroit cut into the lead seven minutes into the third as Tatar scored on a backhand shot off a rebound.
Both teams return to action on Friday as the Oilers play the second game of a three-game homestand against the Washington Capitals. The Red Wings travel to Calgary to face the Flames.