DETROIT — Riley Sheahan and the Detroit Red Wings shook off a poor start and avoided a stumble against one of the NHL’s worst teams.
Sheahan scored the go-ahead goal in the second period, Jimmy Howard made 36 saves, and the Red Wings snapped a two-game skid with a 5-2 victory over the Edmonton Oilers on Monday night.
Niklas Kronwall, Teemu Pulkkinen, Justin Abdelkader and Pavel Datsyuk added goals to help Detroit send the Oilers to their fifth straight loss.
“Definitely not the start we wanted, but against top teams in this league we’re probably going to find ourselves down a couple after a start like that,” said Howard, who started one night after making a relief appearance Sunday in the Red Wings’ 5-3 loss to Boston. “We’re fortunate we found a way to get two points.”
Rob Klinkhammer and Nail Yakupov scored for Edmonton, and Ben Scrivens stopped 21 shots.
Howard made 16 saves in the third period and allowed only Yakupov’s power-play goal that made it 3-2 with 1:55 left.
Pulkkinen had given Detroit a 3-1 lead with a rebound goal at 10:40 of the third. Abdelkader and Datsyuk — with assists from Henrik Zetterberg — both scored into an empty net in the final 1:04 to seal the win.
Zetterberg had three assists overall.
The Oilers took a 1-0 lead just 2:15 in when Klinkhammer put in a rebound of Matt Hendricks’ shot.
Edmonton recorded the first nine shots and allowed just seven in the opening period. Abdelkader had Detroit’s best scoring chance in the first, but failed to convert a breakaway opportunity.
“Edmonton skates real well. A bunch of kids with energy,” Detroit coach Mike Babcock said. “I thought they started real well.
“It took us a while to get going. We had our goaltender give up the first one, and I thought he played real well after that.”
The Red Wings were much sharper in the second period.
Kronwall tied it 21 seconds into the frame with a power-play slap shot over Scrivens’ right shoulder. Sheahan gave the Red Wings the lead for good late in the period when he tipped in a short pass from Gustav Nyquist.
“We didn’t have a good start,” Pulkkinen said. “It’s not good, but after the first break we came back hard and played pretty good the last 40 minutes.”
Edmonton reflected on its missed chances in the first.
“We had a really strong first; a good 20 minutes,” Oilers coach Todd Nelson said. “In the second period, they turned it up.
“(Detroit) played hard. Sometimes you have to give the other team credit.”
Detroit completed a season sweep of Edmonton and moved within three points of idle Tampa Bay for second place in the Atlantic Division.
The Red Wings, who also topped the Western Conference’s worst team 4-2 on Jan. 6, have won eight straight and nine of the last 10 meetings with the Oilers.
Detroit has earned at least one point in 17 straight games against Edmonton.