EDMONTON, Alberta (AP) - The last thing the struggling Edmonton Oilers can afford is to give away a game.
That is just what they did in the closing seconds against the visiting Detroit Red Wings.
Benoit Pouliot took a four-minute spearing penalty late in the tie game, and the Red Wings scored a pair of power-play goals to pull away for a 4-2 victory over the Oilers on Tuesday night.
“Pretty stupid,” Pouliot said of his penalty. “Mostly I just feel bad for the guys because we played hard, we battled back and then I go do something so stupid like that. It’s unacceptable.
“It’s a 2-2 game, Detroit in town, then I go do that with three minutes left. It’s just stupid. I just lost it, I guess, and retaliated in a way that I shouldn’t have.”
Detroit defenseman Kyle Quincey agreed with Pouliot’s assessment of the penalty.
“That wasn’t very smart,” Quincey said. “We can thank him for that one. That was very timely for us.”
Pavel Datsyuk scored the tiebreaking goal with 34 seconds left to help the Red Wings earn their fourth win in six games. Datsyuk also had an assist, and Justin Abdelkader added a goal and assist for Detroit.
Datsyuk gave the Red Wings a 3-2 lead with a power-play goal after Edmonton had tied it with 4:05 remaining. Quincey and Luke Glendening also scored for the Red Wings (21-10-9), who are 1-1 two games into a six-game trip.
“On the road in a tight game like this, when you get an opportunity like that, you have to take advantage of it,” Detroit captain Henrik Zetterberg said. “We took our time, but it was nice to finish it off in regulation.”
Jimmy Howard made 21 saves and earned his 11th consecutive win over Edmonton.
“That was good for us,” Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said. “We had the puck for the majority of the night, yet the game was 2-2. That’s just how the league is, night in and night out. You have to find a way to win these one-goal type games.”
Jordan Eberle had both goals for the Oilers (9-23-9), who have lost 23 of 26. Viktor Fasth stopped 37 shots. Edmonton fell to 2-1-2 under the sole direction of interim head coach Todd Nelson.
“It’s one of those things that we have to learn from,” Nelson said. “Viktor gave us a chance to win, I thought he had a strong game. We got down short-handed and that goal, we put it into our own net.
“Those things happen, but we have to learn from it and move on.”
The Oilers made it 1-0 on a power play with 4:31 left in the opening frame. Jeff Petry fed Eberle in front, and he lifted the puck into the top corner from an improbable angle to beat Howard, who had robbed him earlier with a big save.
The Red Wings tied it with 9:16 remaining in the second as Quincey swooped in and got his own rebound before chipping the puck past Fasth.
Detroit kept up the pressure up and made it 2-1 with 1:31 to go in the second period on the power play. Abdelkader tipped Niklas Kronwall’s point shot into the net for his 10th goal.
Detroit outshot Edmonton 26-15 through 40 minutes.
Fasth kept Edmonton in range until the Oilers tied it late in the third. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins made a nice feed from behind the goal line to catch Eberle in stride, and he scored his ninth goal of the season.
The Red Wings took advantage in the final minute as the puck went into the net off Oilers defender Matt Hendricks during a scramble in front. Datsyuk was credited with the goal.
Detroit added an empty-net goal by Glendening with Pouliot still in the penalty box.
NOTES: It was the first of two games this season between the teams. Detroit is 14-0-1 in its last 15 meetings with the Oilers. Edmonton had two wins in its past 15 games against the Red Wings, both via shootout. Detroit has also recorded at least a point in 28 of its last 29 games against Edmonton. … Oilers prospect Leon Draisaitl had his rights traded from Prince Albert to Kelowna in the WHL. Draisaitl was sent back down to junior on Sunday after recording two goals and seven assists in 37 games with the Oilers. … Detroit’s Jakub Kindl (elbow) is eligible to come off the injured list but isn’t ready to play. The lone injury for the Oilers was forward Tyler Pitlick, who was released from a Calgary hospital on Monday. He is expected to be sidelined for three months because of a lacerated spleen.
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