EDMONTON OILERS (8-7-2) at
DETROIT RED WINGS (11-2-3)
Start Time: 5:38 p.m. MST
Television: Sportsnet (HD)
Radio: 630 CHED, Oilers Radio Network and online at edmontonoilers.com.
|Oilers forward Robert Nilsson scores on Red Wings netminder Chris Osgood during a game last season. (photo by Andy Devlin/Edmonton Oilers Hockey Club)
The Detroit Red Wings are leaving little doubt that they're the league's best road team, and a pair of victories in their two most recent games have only helped drive that message home.
They've been pretty good at Joe Louis Arena, too - but that's where they have something to prove.
The Red Wings will try to erase the memory of blowing a three-goal, third-period lead last week when they return home Monday night to face the Edmonton Oilers.
Detroit (11-2-3) is 8-1-1 on the road, and even though a majority of those games have been tight, that's where Mike Babcock's club has thrived. The Red Wings have won all five of their one-goal, regulation road games this season, including a pair of recent victories in Florida.
They fell behind 2-0 at Tampa Bay on Thursday before scoring the next four goals in a 4-3 win, then got a goal from Johan Franzen for the fourth straight game Friday in Florida, the difference-making tally in a 3-2 victory.
"That's what we do with this team, we find a way to win," said Franzen, who has six goals in his last seven games. "We haven't played great, far from great defensively, but we're finding a way to win."
Detroit was 3-1-1 at home heading into its latest game at Joe Louis Arena, and took a 5-2 lead over Pittsburgh five minutes into the third period.
But the Penguins tied the score at six in the final minute of regulation, and scored the winner in overtime. It was only the fifth time the Red Wings had given up seven goals since 1994-95.
It was the seventh time this season that goaltender Chris Osgood (7-1-3, 3.31 goals-against average) had allowed at least three goals in a game, and he let three in again in Tampa Bay.
Backup Ty Conklin improved to 4-1-0 with a 2.96 GAA with the win in Florida, and he's expected to get the start against Edmonton despite having left the team briefly over the weekend while his wife gave birth to the couple's third child.
"I was going to give him two days off, but he didn't want it," Babcock said. "He wanted to be back."
Conklin's lone start against the Oilers (8-7-2) didn't go well. He gave up five goals while with Columbus in a 5-2 loss on Jan. 31, 2007.
Edmonton has the second-most road wins in the league behind Detroit, but that's partly because it has spent most of the first six weeks of the season away from home. The Oilers are 6-6-0 on the road.
Two games back in Alberta didn't produce positive results though, as Edmonton failed to pick up its first home victory since Oct. 18. The Oilers lost 5-2 to Toronto on Thursday, then gave up the tying goal with 11 seconds left Saturday before eventually falling 3-2 in a shootout to Colorado.
"It was unfortunate that they were able to get one late," said goaltender Dwayne Roloson, who fell to 2-2-2 with a 2.62 GAA. "That was probably one of the best games we have played defensively all year."
The Oilers have scored two goals apiece in their last four games, with no player scoring more than once.
Shootouts are nothing new to Detroit and Edmonton. Four of the last six meetings between the teams have ended 4-3 in a shootout - with the Oilers winning each time. Roloson was in net for three of those victories.