Preview: Oilers at Red Wings
EDMONTON OILERS (26-22-3) at
DETROIT RED WINGS (33-11-7)
Start Time: 1:08 p.m. MST
Television: Rogers Sportsnet West
Radio: 630 CHED, Oilers Radio Network and online at edmontonoilers.com.
LINEUP UPDATE: Tom Gilbert is likely to play this afternoon... Kyle Brodziak will slot in on the top line if Shawn Horcoff can't play.
Today's Game Notes | Oilers/Red Wings Head-to-Head | Stats Comparison
|Red Wings defenceman Brian Rafalski clears the puck from in front of his own net as Ethan Moreau looks on. (photo: Andy Devlin/Edmonton Oilers HockeyClub)
by Marc Ciampa | edmontonoilers.com
A battered-and-bruised Edmonton Oilers squad skates into Detroit where they will play an afternoon game today versus the Red Wings.
and Tom Gilbert
were both injured during a 2-1 shootout win Thursday night in St. Louis. Horcoff took a shot off his leg while Gilbert had back spasms acting up. Both players are question marks for today with Gilbert more likely of the two to play.
The good news Thursday though was despite a short bench the Oilers were able to gut out a victory and move back into a playoff spot. They are currently in a tie for seventh place in the Western Conference with Minnesota - two points behind Anaheim and Dallas. However, the Oilers do have four games in hand on the Ducks.
Detroit has won each of its last two games but are coming off their toughest stretch of the season so far. They went winless in five games to close out January (0-4-1).
However, despite the slide the Wings are still very much entrenched in second place i the Western Conference. They have 73 points, which is seven ahead of the Chicago Blackhawks.
This is the third of four meetings this season between these two clubs. Detroit won the previous two - by scores of 4-0 and 4-3 on November 17 and November 20.
Just The Facts...
OILERS TO WATCH: Tom Gilbert
is now likely to play this afternoon. He suffered a back injury against St. Louis but should return to the lineup and play alongside Denis Grebeshkov. Gilbert has 26 points in 51 games so far this season which is approaching the 33 points he had last year through 82 games... Sheldon Souray
ended a 13-game scoreless drought when he potted one against the Blues...
RED WINGS TO WATCH:
Henrik Zetterberg has 18 goals and 26 assists in 44 games this season. He has four goals and four assists in a five-game home point streak against the Oilers... In 25 games, former Oiler Ty Conklin has a record of 16-7-1 with a 2.38 goals-against average and .915 save percentage. His numbers are much better than his counterpart Chris Osgood, who has a 3.29 GAA and .880 save percentage. However, Osgood is 17-4-6 in 28 games.
Edmonton—Lubomir Visnovsky (dislocated shoulder) is out. Shawn Horcoff
(leg) is doubtful. Tom Gilbert
(back) is probable. Fernando Pisani (ankle) is out. Detroit—Thomas Holmstrom (groin) is questionable. Brad Stuart (ribs) is questionable. Darren McCarty (groin) is questionable.
Detroit has the best power play in the NHL at 27.3%. but their penalty killing is not very good at 77.1% - ranking 27th in the League... Edmonton's PK ranks 28th at 76.2%... The Oilers have only lost three games in regulation time consecutively once all season - October 22, 23 and 25 - and once again with their win on Thursday they were able to put an end to a two-game skid... Since the beginning of the 1996-97 season, the Detroit Red Wings have won more games (605) than any other franchise in the National Hockey League. Detroit's 526 regular season wins and 79 playoff victories are both tops in the NHL over the past 11+ seasons... Detroit is 24-4-4 when scoring first and 20-0-3 when leading after two periods this season. They are 17-1-4 when leading after one frame.
Oilers recall Theo Peckham, Potulny assigned to Springfield
- General Manager Steve Tambellini announced today the Edmonton Oilers have recalled defenceman Theo Peckham
from the Springfield Falcons and assigned centre Ryan Potulny to their American Hockey League affiliate. ...more
The Other Side - news from redwings.com
- Zetterberg meets with national media - Red Wings forward Henrik Zetterberg spoke to the national hockey media on a teleconference Thursday. The Wngs' star talked about everything from his new 12-year contract to the Wings' return to Mellon Arena this Sunday. ... ...more
- Hard-working Draper reaches NHL mark - Eighteen years after he made his NHL debut, veteran center Kris Draper played in his 1,000th career game when the Red Wings hosted the St. Louis Blues at Joe Louis Arena on Monday evening. Players React to Draper's Milestone ...more
From the Fans
Odds and Ends
- The LINK: MacIntyre goes Ropin' - There's a first time for everything! In the newest episode of The Link, we go team roping with the Oilers' biggest cowboy at heart, Steve MacIntyre, and give you a rare behind-the-scenes look at a typical Link video shoot. ...more
- Oilers autograph session goes Feb. 22 - The Oilers will be hosting their annual Autograph Session presented by ATB Financial on February 22nd at West Edmonton Mall. Players will be available at various locations throughout the mall for autographs between 1 to 2:30 pm. ...more
- Roloson answers your questions - You sent us hundreds of questions for Roli the Goalie, and after sifting through your submissions, Steve Taylor recently sat down with Dwayne and asked him to come clean on a few topics, including music, his mask, and team chemistry. ...more
From the Wire (AP)
For the Edmonton Oilers to separate themselves from the pack in the Western Conference, they'll need to start beating some elite teams. A win at Joe Louis Arena would be a good start.
The Oilers continue a three-game road trip on Saturday against the Central Division-leading Detroit Red Wings, who will be trying not to look ahead to another Stanley Cup finals rematch on Sunday.
Edmonton (26-22-3) begins play tied for sixth place in the tightly-packed West, where 11 teams are separated by only nine points.
While that makes this game important, the Oilers have lost seven of their last 10 visits to Detroit. Three of those defeats have come by shutout, including a 4-0 setback on Nov. 17, and only one win was in regulation.
Edmonton kicked off its swing on Thursday with a 2-1 shootout victory over St. Louis. Dwayne Roloson made 33 saves through overtime, then stopped T.J. Oshie and Brad Boyes in the tiebreaker as the Oilers won for the third time in four road games.
"I thought we played a gritty game," Edmonton coach Craig MacTavish said. "It was an important win. We were starting to slide the other way."
All-Star Sheldon Souray scored in regulation, and Robert Nilsson and Sam Gagner added goals in the shootout.
Shawn Horcoff is tied with Souray for second on the team with 33 points. But the center has only one goal in his last 16 games, and has scored 11 this season down from 21 in 2007-08.
Ending those woes likely won't be easy. In his last six games in Detroit, Horcoff has only one goal and one assist.
On Sunday, the Red Wings (33-11-7) will face Pittsburgh for the second time after beating them in six games last June to win their fourth Stanley Cup in 11 seasons. The Red Wings, who raised their latest Cup in Pittsburgh, lost to the Penguins 7-6 in overtime on Nov. 11 at Joe Louis.
First, though, Mike Babcock's club will look for its third straight win after a season-high five-game skid. On Monday, the Red Wings ended their funk with a shootout win over St. Louis, then followed it up with 5-4 victory over Phoenix on Wednesday.
Marian Hossa scored twice and Niklas Lidstrom - playing in his 1,300th game - tallied a power-play goal with 39 seconds remaining to thwart Phoenix's third-period rally from a two-goal deficit.
"It's not the way we want to win but we're still able to win games," Lidstrom said. "We're still working at details in our game that could be better."
Henrik Zetterberg also found the back of the net in his return after missing three games with back spasms. It also was his first action since inking a 12-year, $73 million contract extension on Jan. 28.
"We're second in the West. I think we've been playing OK. A few games maybe we could play a little bit better," the reigning Conn Smythe winner said on Thursday. "But we have a few things that we, for sure, can do better. We're working on it, 30-some games before the playoffs start. We're just going to get ourselves ready for a good run again."
Zetterberg has 18 goals and 26 assists in 44 games this season. He has four goals and four assists in a five-game home point streak against Edmonton.
Detroit, which has won the Central each of the last seven seasons under three coaches, has a seven-point lead over second-place Chicago.