Instead, the puck took a crazy deflection, helping the Detroit Red Wings to a much-needed victory.
Lidstrom's shot bounced off the stick of Edmonton's Andrew Cogliano and into the net, tying the game with 24.8 seconds left in the third period. Pavel Datsyuk then scored with 42 seconds remaining in overtime to give the Red Wings an improbable 2-1 victory over the Oilers on Friday night.
"They had a guy come out in the shooting lanes and I couldn't get it on net so I tried to shoot it wide because I knew we had players over there," Lidstrom said. "I think the goalie reacted to the shot going wide. It got tipped and he couldn't get back in position."
Detroit snapped a four-game losing streak.
Oilers goalie Devan Dubnyk held the Red Wings at bay until Cogliano -- who was high in the slot -- deflected the puck. Dubnyk couldn't kick out his right pad in time to prevent it from sliding slowly into the net.
"Unfortunate bounce," Dubnyk said. "It was tough to get a read."
In overtime, Datsyuk took a pass from Johan Franzen, dragged the puck around a sliding Oiler and beat Dubnyk with a wrist shot.
Ryan Jones scored in the first period for Edmonton.
Dubnyk made 42 saves, and the Oilers were less than a half-minute from their second regulation win over the Red Wings in 19 games.
In overtime, Detroit's Jimmy Howard made a big save on Gilbert Brule's shot, giving Datsyuk a chance to win it with his 21st goal of the season.
"The last two weeks, it's almost like we were one of the worst teams in the league," Detroit's Henrik Zetterberg said. "We've got to realize we're a good team. When we have our chances, got to believe in ourselves and make plays instead of just panicking and stressing and doing the wrong plays."
The Red Wings went 0 for 6 on the power play, including a two-man advantage they had for 1:25 in the third. Both teams called timeouts during that 5-on-3 situation, but Dubnyk was able to stop Datsyuk when he tried to jam the puck in from to the left of the goal.
"We were definitely frustrated. We had lots of chances," Datsyuk said. "Their goalie played well today -- big guy."
Edmonton outshot Detroit 8-6 in the first period and had most of the best scoring chances early. Jones was stopped by Howard on a breakaway, then Alexandre Giroux split two defenders but couldn't convert.
The Oilers finally did score on a harmless-looking shot from the left boards by Jones that slipped under Howard's right pad for his 15th goal of the season.
Detroit took 17 shots on goal in the second, but the one time the Red Wings put the puck past Dubnyk, the goal was disallowed after a review. Lidstrom's wrist shot from the point was deflected in by Todd Bertuzzi's left hand before Bertuzzi was knocked to the ice.
Before that, Detroit came up empty on three power plays in the period, and Howard had to make three big saves in succession while Edmonton had a man advantage late in the second to keep the deficit at one goal.
The margin almost held up before the fluky goal that tied the game. Oilers coach Tom Renney praised his team.
"I was proud of our hockey club tonight," Renney said. "We stuck to our game plan and we stuck to our strategy. Our penalty killing was outstanding."
Lidstrom's goal was his 14th of the season. ... Detroit trails NHL-leading Vancouver by nine points for first place in the Western Conference. ... Detroit D Brian Rafalski (back) did not play. ... The Red Wings outshot Edmonton 44-27.
Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press
Arena: Joe Louis Arena Location: Detroit, Michigan
Referees: Paul Devorski, Brian Pochmara Linesmen: David Brisebois, Brad Kovachik
Attendance: 20,066 (100.0% full)
Team Stat Comparison
Power Play Goals
Power Play Opportunities
Shots on Goal
Ryan Jones (15)
Assist: Jim Vandermeer
No scoring this period
Nicklas Lidstrom (14)
Assists: Pavel Datsyuk, Johan Franzen
Pavel Datsyuk (21)
Assists: Johan Franzen, Niklas Kronwall