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Oilers' season-long trip stops in Detroit

by Tal Pinchevsky

OILERS (8-9-5) at RED WINGS (11-8-4)


Last 10: Edmonton 3-5-2, Detroit 4-4-2

Season series: This is the second of three meetings between teams, who will close their season series next week in Edmonton. Detroit topped Edmonton 2-1 at Joe Louis Arena on Feb. 9 and took the season series in 2011-12 with a 3-0-1 record against the Oilers.

Big story: While Detroit is enjoying success through a run in which they play four of five games at home, Edmonton is off to a rough start to a season-long nine-game road trip. They'll need to turn things around to salvage any playoff hopes, but that will mean doing it against a Red Wings team that appears to be working toward another postseason run.

Team Scope:

Oilers: Edmonton started their marathon road swing with back-to-back 4-2 losses in St. Louis and Minnesota. With a record that put them near the bottom of the Western Conference, they hoped to turn the corner Tuesday in Columbus.

Jeff Petry opened the scoring against the Blue Jackets 4:23 into what would be a back-and-forth affair. With both teams swapping leads at different points, the game ultimately was settled in the shootout, thanks in large part to goaltender Devan Dubnyk, who stopped 35 shots, marking the seventh time in 18 games this season that he has made at least that many saves. But Artem Anisimov and Mark Letestu beat Dubnyk in the shootout, giving Columbus a 4-3 win.

Red Wings: With a 4-1-1 record in the last two weeks, Detroit appears to have moved past some early-season struggles and is coming together just in time for the playoff push. The only games in that run they haven't won have come against the Los Angeles Kings and Chicago Blackhawks.

Following a shootout loss to Chicago on Sunday, the Red Wings hosted Colorado for the middle game in their current three-game homestand. Following a scoreless first period, Johan Franzen and Niklas Kronwall scored in the second period to give Detroit a commanding lead. Paul Stastny's goal halved the lead for the Avalanche late in the third, but Jimmy Howard held the fort and secured the win for the Red Wings despite his team being outshot 16-10 in the final period.

"This was our loosest game in the last while," Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said. "To win on a nightly basis, you can't leave your goalie like that as much as we did tonight."

Who's hot: For Edmonton, Ryan Whitney has two goals (his first two of the season) in his last three games, while Jordan Eberle has five points (all assists) on his current four-game point streak. Despite dealing with injury and a suspension, Taylor Hall has nine points in his last eight games. … For Detroit, Kronwall and Jonathan Ericsson have five and four points, respectively, in the last five games. Goaltender Jimmy Howard has allowed six goals in his last five games.

Injury report: Theo Peckham is questionable for Thursday's game with an illness as the Oilers injured-reserve list now includes Andy Sutton (knee), Mark Fistric (elbow), Shawn Horcoff (knuckle), Anton Lander (foot), Teemu Hartikainen (shoulder) and Nikolai Khabibulin (undisclosed). … Detroit's IR list is just as long, with Carlo Colaiacovo (shoulder), Darren Helm (back), Valtteri Filppula (shoulder), Todd Bertuzzi (back) and Mikael Samuelsson (finger) all out.

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