Sam Gagner showed the top team in the NHL that his breakout game was no fluke.
Gagner continued to rack up the points with had two goals and an assist and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins scored the shootout winner as the Edmonton Oilers defeated the league-leading Detroit Red Wings 5-4 on Saturday. Gagner also scored in the shootout.
Gagner picked up right where he left off after tying the club record held by Wayne Gretzky and Paul Coffey with an eight-point game in Edmonton’s 8-4 win over Chicago on Thursday.
“It’s a big win for us,” Gagner said. “Especially the way we did it, coming back at the end. I knew I wasn’t going to get another eight-point night. But even after the points kept coming our line was still creating.
“I’m just feeling way better about how I am playing. I want the puck. I want to be the guy.”
Gagner has a fan in Nugent-Hopkins, who returned from a shoulder injury and played in his first game since Jan. 2.
“Sam has been a lot of fun to watch,” Nugent-Hopkins said. “I’m really happy for him. It was a big character win for us.”
The Oilers blew a 3-1 lead, but sent it to overtime when Jordan Eberle scored with 39 seconds left.
Eberle ended up with a pair of goals for the Oilers (21-26-5) who have caught fire with three wins in a row. They are 4-0-1 in their last five games.
“We were good for two periods and then sat around and watched them play in the third,” said Oilers head coach Tom Renney. “That’s very dangerous against one of the best teams in the league. But we collected ourselves and played more intelligent and showed some character.”
Todd Bertuzzi had a pair of goals and Valtteri Filppula and Drew Miller also scored for the Red Wings (35-16-2), who saw a two-game winning streak snapped and suffered only their second loss in the last 11 outings.
“It’s disappointing to lose the extra point when we had the lead with under a minute to play,” said Wings captain Nicklas Lidstrom. “We came back from a 3-1 deficit to tie the game up and then took the lead. So it’s tough to take when you lose after battling back like that.”
Detroit almost got on the board first before the game was two minutes old. Darren Helm had a short-handed breakaway, but Oilers starter Devan Dubnyk was able to come up with a clutch save.
The Oilers made good on the power play a minute later as Gagner knocked the rebound of Ryan Whitney’s shot past Wings goalie Ty Conklin.
Gagner got his second point of the night just before the six minute mark of the first. He put the puck on net, and it slipped beneath Conklin and went to Eberle, who scored his 21st of the year.
Edmonton retained the lead after killing off a two-man disadvantage. Corey Potter was given a double-minor for coming to the aid of teammate Ales Hemsky after he was crushed along the boards by Niklas Kronwall. An addition penalty to Edmonton’s Ladislav Smid left the team down two players for a full two minutes.
Gagner had a direct result on two more goals to close out the first period, one by each team.
With 37 seconds to play, Gagner coughed up the puck to Filppula in his own zone on the power play. Filppula fanned on his shot but it hit Whitney’s and trickled into the Oiler net, just out of the reach of a diving Dubnyk, for the short-handed goal.
Gagner redeemed himself with less than a second left in the period on the same power play as he tipped in a Ryan Smyth shot for his second of the game. It was the 11th consecutive Edmonton goal that Gagner got a point on, all within a three-period span going back to the second period of the win over Chicago. Being in on the 11 consecutive goals beat a team record of 10 that was twice set by Wayne Gretzky.
Recent call-up Joey MacDonald started the second period in the Detroit net.
Detroit made it a one-goal game two minutes into the third period as Henrik Zetterberg fed it to Bertuzzi from behind the net and he whacked at the puck under Dubnyk.
The Red Wings tied the game 3-3 three minutes later as Helm got the puck through to Miller in front of the net and he had an easy redirect for his 10th of the year.
Detroit took a 4-3 lead with just under four minutes remaining as Bertuzzi showed some skill, passing it to himself through defenceman Andy Sutton’s legs before beating Dubnyk up high.
With Dubnyk on the bench, the Oilers sent it to extra time as Eberle found the puck in a scramble in front and put it past MacDonald.
Edmonton had a glorious chance to win it midway through overtime as Smyth hit a post and then Potter fanned on the follow up shot.
Both teams return to the ice on Monday as the Red Wings wrap up a five-game road trip in Phoenix and Edmonton starts a three-game trip in Toronto.
Notes: It was the third of four meetings between the two teams this season. Detroit won the first two games by 3-0 and 3-2 scores. The Oilers came into the game with seven straight losses to the Red Wings. ... Detroit G Jimmy Howard was out with a broken finger. ... Dubnyk made his career-high fifth consecutive start in goal for Edmonton. ... After an injury-filled season, the Oilers are almost back to full strength as the league’s rookie points leader, Nugent-Hopkins returned to the lineup after missing the last 13 games with a shoulder injury. D Tom Gilbert, the only Oiler still on the IR, is expected to play early next week. ... Bertuzzi was able to play after being listed as questionable going in with a charley horse.