EDMONTON, Alberta -- How much better written can a game's story line go? A guy returns after a long layoff and scores an early goal, leading his team to victory.
So the tale emerged Saturday night at Rexall Place, where the Wings did what so many other opponents have done this season and ran the Oilers into the ground. The final read 5-0, which improved the Wings to 3-0 in western Canada as they head off into a final stop Monday at Winnipeg.
Darren Helm -- a name not associated with a lineup for nine months -- scored, as did Tomas Tatar and Jakub Kindl and Joakim Andersson and Todd Bertuzzi. Daniel Alfredsson, 40, approximately twice the age of half the Oilers very young lineup, had two assists.
Rookie goaltender Petr Mrazek didn't see many pucks but he stopped 14 shots to earn his first NHL shutout. Mrazek subbed for an injured Jonas Gustavsson to spell starter Jimmy Howard.
The game was Helm's first since Jan. 25. He's spent most of the year recovering from back pain and then a pulled groin. He needed just five minutes to make a difference.
Picking up a puck from Daniel Cleary, Helm strode into Edmonton's zone and slipped the puck behind Richard Bachman, scoring for the first time since March 9, 2012. Bachman left with 7 minutes to go in the first period after injuring himself, ceding the net to Jason LaBarbera.
Helm, Mrazek and Mikael Samuelsson brought fresh faces to a lineup that had just rolled out a victory 24 hours earlier in Calgary to start this trip 2-0. Tatar built on what he'd accomplished already in Calgary and Vancouver, producing for the third straight game when he drove the middle and scored than 30 seconds after Helm's goal.
That enabled the Wings to take a 2-0 lead into the second period. Second periods have been a sore spot much of the season, a stretch during which the Wings have been consistently outshot and outscored.
It went much better against the Oilers -- to be fair, a team that's had problems of its own in second periods, as well as firsts and thirds. The Wings didn't like the Oilers near Mrazek much, and then Kindl ripped a shot from the top of the right circle to make it 3-0. Mrazek kept it that way through an Oilers power play, windmilling a save on
Andersson scored for the second time in two games 8 minutes into the third period, as the Wings continued to get scoring from sources outside their first line. Bertuzzi converted on the team's fifth power play of the game, finishing a beautiful setup by Henrik Zetterberg, who had all Oilers dazzled as he slid behind the net for the feed, writing a perfect finish.
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