DETROIT -- How hot are the Red Wings?
Let's put it this way: When Jakub Kindl is on fire, you're red hot.
Kindl, a stay-at-home defenseman, netted the winning goal in Thursday's 3-0 victory over Edmonton at Joe Louis Arena that improved the Wings' record to 5-1-1 in their past seven games.
Kindl, who has never scored more than two goals in an NHL season, was plus-two and scored the first of the Wings' two goals in the second period. Cory Emmerton followed Kindl's goal in the second period, and Justin Abdelkader scored his first of the season on an empty-netter with 1:10 left.
Goaltender Jimmy Howard stopped 22 shots to earn his second shutout of the season. He has allowed only four goals in his past four starts.
"We didn't skate and execute as well in the first period as we would have liked," coach Mike Babcock said. "Saying that, I thought we got better, and that's a pretty complete game for us. We didn't give up very much. Our goaltender was under way less duress than he was the other night, and it was a good win for us."
The tables could be turning for the Wings, though. While they have done well to take advantage by scoring five points in a three-game home stand, they now have to hit the road, where they play eight of their next 10 games.
"Yeah, it's one of those things that every team's going to go through it," Abdelkader said of the brutal travel schedule in the compacted season. "And we know we've got to take care of our home ice because we're going to be in the same situation in a few weeks here.
"Whether they're tired from the games or the travel or whatever it is, we're not making excuses for them or for us. We're just going to go out and try to play our game and do what we can."
The Oilers played their sixth game in a nine-game trip that began Feb. 25 -- and they looked weary while losing their fourth straight. They struggled to keep pace with the Wings. They couldn't sustain pressure in the Wings' zone and late in the third period they were pinned in their defensive zone by the Wings' tenacious effort that brought rousing applause from the sellout crowd of 20,066 at the Joe.
"Our fourth line was outstanding," Babcock said. "(Joakim) Andersson was unreal. He was a really good player for us tonight. Emmerton's line was good as well, so we had all our lines on deck tonight going."
That also included a top-notch defensive effort from players like Kindl, Brian Lashoff and Brendan Smith. "Our D's better than it was," Babcock said, "skating better and moving better."
Kindl was a testament to that with his goal at 3:16 of the second period that came from a second or third effort while tangled with several Oilers in the slot.
Emmerton scored at 12:19 of the second period on a beautiful centering pass from Drew Miller, who curled along the sideboards and fed a streaking Emmerton in the slot. Emmerton whipped a clean shot past goalie Devan Dubnyk for his second of the season.
"You don't really get those open-ice chances too often," a smiling Emmerton said, "especially right in the slot. So I'll take those."
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