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Preview: Red Wings at Oilers

Gustav Nyquist returns for Detroit; Edmonton begins eight-game homestand

by Derek Van Diest / NHL.com Correspondent

RED WINGS (25-26-11) at OILERS (34-22-8)

10 p.m. ET; CBC, FS-D, NHL.TV 

 

Red Wings team scope

Forward Gustav Nyquist returns to the lineup for the Detroit Red Wings after serving a six-game suspension. "He's going to get good minutes, his job while he's been out is to make sure he's ready to jump back in and go at a high game speed," coach Jeff Blashill said. "I know he's worked hard and we can't afford him to ease his way in. He's going to have to come in, in the minutes that he's going to play, and be an impact player." Nyquist has seven goals and 22 assists in 56 games this season. "I've been pretty lucky with injuries and stuff, so I haven't gone through this before where you miss a few games," Nyquist said. "We'll see, hopefully, I'll find my legs quick and get into it as soon as possible." Detroit, which plays the third game of a five-game road trip, is eighth in the Atlantic Division, 10 points behind the New York Islanders for the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Eastern Conference. "For us, the last few years we've been battling to get in," defenseman Niklas Kronwall said. "We're a few points behind now, but for us, we still keep believing. We have to keep grinding away and find ways to get points. One game at a time, that's all we can do right now." Detroit is 3-1-1 in its past five games.

 

Oilers team scope

Center David Desharnais will make his Edmonton Oilers debut following a trade from the Montreal Canadiens for defenseman Brandon Davidson on Tuesday. Desharnais had four goals and six assists in 31 games with Montreal. "It's good that we had a couple of days of practice to learn the system here and the foundation, and I'm ready to go," Desharnais said. "It's exciting, but I just want to help the team win." The Oilers begin a season-long, eight-game homestand; Edmonton plays 12 of the next 14 games and 13 of its final 18 games at Rogers Place. The Oilers are tied with the Anaheim Ducks for second place in the Pacific Division, seven points behind the first-place San Jose Sharks entering play Saturday. "We have to focus on winning the games here at Rogers to set us up in a real good spot at the end," defenseman Oscar Klefbom said. "We have a long home stretch here and we want to have some confidence going into the playoffs. That's the main goal." Edmonton has not made the playoffs since 2006. "We have a tendency [after] the trade deadline to do a lot of talking about the playoffs, but that still a long way away and we still have a lot of work to do to even qualify," coach Todd McLellan said. "For me, it's the push down the stretch here that we need to focus on."

 

Red Wings projected lineup

Anthony Mantha -- Henrik Zetterberg -- Gustav Nyquist

Dylan Larkin -- Darren Helm -- Justin Abdelkader

Andreas Athanasiou -- Frans Nielsen -- Tomas Tatar

Drew Miller -- Luke Glendening -- Riley Sheahan

Danny DeKeyser -- Mike Green

Niklas Kronwall -- Nick Jensen

Xavier Ouellet -- Ryan Sproul

Petr Mrazek

Jared Coreau

Scratched: Mitch Callahan

Injured: Johan Franzen (concussion), Joe Vitale (concussion), Jimmy Howard (knee), Jonathan Ericsson (wrist)

 

Oilers projected lineup

Patrick Maroon -- Connor McDavid -- Leon Draisaitl

Milan Lucic -- Ryan Nugent-Hopkins -- Jordan Eberle  

Anton Slepyshev -- David Desharnais -- Zack Kassian

Matt Hendricks -- Mark Letestu -- Jujhar Khaira

Oscar Klefbom -- Adam Larsson

Andrej Sekera -- Kris Russell  

Darnell Nurse -- Matt Benning

Cam Talbot

Laurent Brossoit

Scratched: Drake Caggiula, Iiro Pakarinen, Eric Gryba

Injured: Benoit Pouliot (upper body), Tyler Pitlick (knee)

 

Status report

Pouliot is practicing with the Oilers, but has yet to be activated from injured reserve. … Mrazek will make his sixth consecutive start for the Red Wings. … Kronwall is one assist away from 300 for his NHL career.

 

Who's hot

Zetterberg is on a five-game point streak (one goal, seven assists). … McDavid has 12 points (three goals, nine assists) in his past nine games. Klefbom has eight points (three goals, five assists) in his past eight games

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