Oilers-Red Wings Preview
GAME: Edmonton Oilers (6-6-1) at Detroit Red Wings (12-1-0).
TIME: Friday, 7:30 p.m. EST.
Chris Osgood was a forgotten man behind starting goaltender Manny Legace during the Detroit Red Wings' fast start.
The veteran netminder will get his chance between the pipes when the Red Wings host the Edmonton Oilers in a bid for their franchise-record 10th straight win.
Osgood helped the Red Wings win a Stanley Cup in 1998, but never was considered a fan favorite due to his inconsistent play in the postseason. He re-signed with the team as a free agent this year to back up Legace, and had just one start in the first 12 games.
The 32-year-old Osgood proved he is still a capable goalie in Tuesday's 4-1 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks. He replaced Legace, who left with a sprained knee after Blackhawks right wing Matthew Barnaby fell on him, and stopped 23 of 24 shots in the final two-plus periods.
"(Tuesday) wasn't one of our better games, but we managed to find a way," said Osgood, whom the team confirmed as the starter for this game.
Legace noted the new offensive-minded NHL has made things tougher on goaltenders with opponents easily establishing position in the offensive zone.
"Guys are getting to the net too easy now and not worrying about it because they'll just draw a penalty or get a good scoring chance. And goalies pay the price. Unfortunately, I had a bit of bad luck and paid the price," he said. "There have been other guys getting run over, too. That's the way the new league is."
The win marked the fifth time in franchise history the Red Wings have won nine straight. Osgood started on the 1995-96 team that had two nine-game winning streaks, but he was limited to ties against Dallas and St. Louis, respectively, in both opportunities for Detroit's 10th consecutive win.
The Red Wings again made the most of their power-play chances, converting twice in six opportunities. They have converted 31.8 percent (15-for-47) of their chances at home and allowed just three goals in 38 penalty kills in seven home games.
Detroit, which would become the first NHL team to have 26 points after 14 games with a win, has scored two or more power-play goals in four straight games and eight times overall this season.
Edmonton has won three straight and is coming off a 5-1 victory over Columbus on Wednesday. Ales Hemsky scored two goals while defensemen Chris Pronger and Steve Staios both had two assists for the Oilers, who have scored 15 goals during their winning streak.
"It's good for the confidence," said Hemsky, who has three goals and five assists in the last three games. "I play better with the puck right now."
The Oilers will need a strong game from their penalty-killing unit, which has allowed at least one power-play goal in nine straight games.
Edmonton is 0-3-2 against Detroit since a 4-3 victory on Jan. 22, 2003.
STANDINGS (through Nov. 2): Oilers - 13 points, 3rd place (tied), 7 PB, Northwest Division. Red Wings - 24 points, 1st place, Central Division.
TEAM LEADERS: Oilers - Raffi Torres, 8 goals; Hemsky, 10 assists and 13 points; Ethan Moreau, 27 PIM. Red Wings - Brendan Shanahan, 8 goals; Jason Williams, 12 assists and 16 points; Shanahan and Jiri Fischer, 21 PIM.
SPECIAL TEAMS (through Nov. 2): Oilers - Power play: 17.4 percent (15 for 86), 16th in NHL. Penalty killing: 80.0 percent (68 for 85), 17th (tied). Red Wings - Power play: 28.2 percent (24 for 85), 1st. Penalty killing: 92.3 percent (72 for 78), 1st.
GOALTENDERS: Oilers - Jussi Markkanen (5-5-1, 0 SO, 2.73 GAA); Ty Conklin (1-1-0, 4.39). Red Wings - Legace (10-1-0, 2, 1.76); Osgood (2-0-0, 1.75).
2003-04 SEASON SERIES: Red Wings, 2-0-2.
LAST MEETING: Feb. 23, 2004; Tied, 1-1. At Edmonton, Nicklas Lidstrom scored with 7:04 to play to give the Red Wings a point. Tommy Salo made 25 saves for the Oilers while Marc Lamothe turned aside 29 shots for the Red Wings.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Oilers - 3-4-0 on the road; Red Wings - 6-1-0 at home.