EDMONTON, Alberta (Ticker) -- The Edmonton Oilers didn't quite give the fans at Skyreach Centre what they wanted.
Todd Marchant scored with 3.6 seconds left in the second period and Tommy Salo made 36 saves as the Oilers rallied for a 1-1 tie with the Detroit Red Wings in an eagerly anticipated showdown with the defending Stanley Cup champions.
In a recent internet poll, Oilers' fans said a win over the Red Wings was preferred over a win over the archrival Calgary Flames. Edmonton added to Calgary's woes on Thursday but could not defeat Detroit, which is unbeaten in the last five meetings with the Oilers (3-0-2).
"We didn't have our best game, but we didn't have our worst, either," Marchant said. "They got the goal to go ahead and we got it right back, traded chances with them in the third and overtime, settled nothing. So I guess we'll settle for a point, even though we'd rather have had two."
Brett Hull ended a goaltending duel between Salo and former Oiler Curtis Joseph with 1:49 to go in the second period.
The future Hall of Famer carried down the left side and whipped a wrist shot over sliding defenseman Steve Staios and into the top right corner of the net for his sixth goal of the season and second in eight games.
The Red Wings' lead lasted less than two minutes as Marchant barely beat the final buzzer at the end of the period.
Joseph got his glove on defenseman Janne Niinimaa's wrist shot from the left point but could not control the puck. Marchant beat teammate Shawn Horcoff to the rebound and backhanded it into the net for his fourth goal of the season and third in the last two games.
"Janne got the puck on net and two of us went to the net, banging away at the rebound," Marchant said. "That's the kind of ugly goal that you need sometimes to get a point from a game in this league."
Edmonton's Mike Comrie had a chance to break the tie with 2:20 left but could not get his stick on a rebound in front with Joseph caught out of position.
"It was a battle," said Joseph, who made 26 saves. "They played desperate hockey, and for us to bounce back was nice. Anytime you play and lose, you want to get back out right away, and I was glad we had another game 24 hours later."
Seven minutes earlier, Salo kicked out his right skate and got a piece of Sergei Fedorov's shot on a partial breakaway.
"The hardest saves I made were early in the first period," Salo said. "I got to see most of the shots and they cleared the rebounds, so it was good. We're playing better as a team, and that helps."
Two of the NHL's better skating teams played a fast-paced game that featured just nine penalties.
"That's the way the game should be played," Detroit center Igor Larionov said. "It's the old Montreal Canadiens, (Soviet) Red Army and Edmonton Oilers style. It's enjoyable because it's pure skill, with skating and passing. I don't know what else you can ask for."