The Detroit Red Wings made life easy for goalie Dominik Hasek. Hasek only had to stop 16 shots to earn his 70th career shutout in the Red Wings' 3-0 win over the Edmonton Oilers on Wednesday night.
``I never even had to make one save,'' the 41-year-old goaltender said. ``I stopped the puck, I poke-checked the puck, I passed the puck, but I didn't have to make a save.''
The Red Wings came into the game leading the NHL in fewest shots allowed per game and improved on that average.
``We're trying to play in the middle and keep them to the outside,'' Detroit captain Nicklas Lidstrom said. ``Let them get shots from the outside. But not from the inside.''
It was the seventh consecutive win for Detroit (10-4-1), which got goals from Dan Cleary, Henrik Zetterberg, and Jiri Hudler, and two assists from Chris Chelios.
Detroit outshot Edmonton 14-0 in the first period. It was the fourth time in Oilers history they have been held without a shot in a period.
The last time was also in Detroit, Feb. 16, 2004, in the second period.
Defenseman Jan Hedja finally got Edmonton's first shot of the game, 19 seconds into the second on a slap shot from the point on which Hasek made the save.
``As a forward, you take pride in taking shots,'' Edmonton's Ryan Smyth said. ``That's the strength of our hockey team, playing in their zone. We didn't get any of that in the first. They kept us on the outside on the most part of the game.''
In other NHL games, it was: Atlanta 5, Ottawa 4; New York Rangers 4, Florida 3 in a shootout; and Tampa Bay 4, Pittsburgh 3 in overtime.
The only worry the Red Wings had was when right wing Jason Williams was taken off the ice on a stretcher and left Joe Louis Arena in an ambulance in the second period.
After Williams tried to put in a wraparound attempt midway through the period, the Oilers' Raffi Torres leveled him with a hard shoulder check to the face. Williams went flying to the ice and appeared to land face first. He then lay motionless in the corner.
Williams had a large cut above his left eye and was secured on the stretcher. He moved his feet while he was being tended to on the ice and waved his hand as he was being taken off the ice.
``I'm not trying to hurt anyone out there,'' Torres said. ``But I've got to finish my hits, that's just my game. I wish him the best and hope he's going to be all right.''
Williams was taken to Detroit Medical Center, where precautionary tests came back negative.
Dwayne Roloson stopped 42 shots for Edmonton (7-7-1) in the second meeting of the season between the teams that met in the first round of the playoffs last season. The Oilers, who upset the top-seeded Red Wings last season in six games, beat Detroit 3-1 in Edmonton on Oct. 21.
Thrashers 5, Senators 4
At Atlanta, Slava Kozlov's hat trick helped the Thrashers hand the Senators their first five-game losing streak in 10 years.
Once again, the Senators couldn't hold a lead as goalie Martin Gerber continued to struggle. Gerber fell to 2-6-1 while stopping only 26 of 31 shots. The Senators blew 3-1 and 4-2 advantages. It was the third straight game that Ottawa blew a lead.
The Thrashers also got goals from Brad Larsen and Ilya Kovalchuk.
Jason Spezza, Daniel Alfredsson, Chris Kelly and Antoine Vermette scored for Ottawa.
Rangers 4, Panthers 3, SO
At Sunrise, Fla., Michael Nylander scored the only goal in the shootout to lead the Rangers over Florida.
Martin Straka added two power-play goals for the Rangers, who improved to 6-2 on the road this season. Blair Betts had the other New York goal. Henrik Lundqvist, returning in net for the Rangers after being replaced by Kevin Weekes the last three games, made 37 saves before the shootout.
Ruslan Salei, Nathan Horton and Jay Bouwmeester scored for the Panthers, who trailed 2-0 midway through the second period.
Lightning 4, Penguins 3, OT
At Pittsburgh, Vincent Lecavalier's goal 2:41 into overtime gave the Lightning a win over the Penguins.
Nils Ekman had a natural hat trick, scoring three straight goals late in the second period for Pittsburgh. The Penguins have gained at least a point in seven of their last eight games.
Lecavalier had a breakaway on Marc-Andre Fleury after Martin St. Louis found him with a long pass from the Tampa Bay end to near the Pittsburgh blue line. It was the second assist of the game for St. Louis, who has a 10-game point streak.
Dimitry Afanasenkov, Brad Richards, and Eric Perrin scored for Tampa Bay.