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Red Wings aim to continue domination of Oilers

by Sean McCullen

OILERS (23-36-8) at RED WINGS (29-23-13)


Last 10: Edmonton 5-3-2; Detroit 5-4-1

Season series: The Detroit Red Wings beat the Edmonton Oilers 5-0 on Nov. 2 in the only other game between the teams this season. Rookie goalie Petr Mrazek made 14 saves to earn his first NHL shutout. Detroit has won five straight against Edmonton since the Oilers beat the Red Wings 5-4 in a shootout on Feb. 4, 2012.

Big story: The Red Wings will try to bounce back from a 4-1 loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets on Tuesday night. Detroit is gunning for a 23rd consecutive appearance in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, but it's going to have to overcome a rash of injuries in order to capture that coveted playoff berth.

"What are you going to do? No sense worrying about it," coach Mike Babcock said of his team's injury situation. "It's part of the business. We have to suck it up and find a way to win."

The Red Wings enter the night two points behind the Philadelphia Flyers for the second of two wild-card positions in the Eastern Conference.

Team Scope:

Oilers: Edmonton lost to the St. Louis Blues 6-2 on Thursday but has won three of its past five games. Defenseman Mark Fraser's first goal of the season tied the game 2-2 late in the second, but the Oilers allowed four goals in the opening 12:56 of the third period.

Giving up four goals in the third did not sit well with coach Dallas Eakins.

"I don't care how good they are," Eakins said of the NHL-leading Blues. "We were able to play with them for two periods. We should certainly be able to do it for another 20 minutes."

Edmonton has been outscored 219-165 in regulation and overtime this season. It is 29th in the NHL at 3.27 goals allowed per game.

Ben Scrivens made 31 saves in the loss at St. Louis. Viktor Fasth will likely be in goal against Detroit.

Red Wings: Detroit continues to be hampered by injuries. Already missing left wing Henrik Zetterberg and center Pavel Datsyuk, among others, things got worse Tuesday when Tomas Jurco, who has 10 points in 26 games and five in his past 11, broke a rib against Columbus. The rookie right wing said Thursday he could miss longer than the initially expected 10-14 days.

"It's hard to say right now. We'll see how quick it's going to heal," Jurco said. "It might be 10 days; it might be a month. But I'm a young guy, so hopefully it's going to heal a little quicker.

Teemu Pulkkinen will make his NHL debut in Jurco's place. The 22-year-old left wing has 51 points in 60 games with the Grand Rapids Griffin of the American Hockey League.

"Every game he plays, he is dangerous. Every team Grand Rapids plays against, they talk about him in their pregame meetings," said Jiri Fischer, the Red Wings' director of player development, according to the team website. "He's got a very dangerous shot; he's got a lot of confidence to shoot the puck."

No. 1 goalie Jimmy Howard will be back in net after missing the game Tuesday due to the flu.

Zetterberg, who leads Detroit in scoring with 48 points, is likely out for the rest of the season following back surgery in February. Datsyuk is being held out until the end of March so he can rest his sore knee.

Who's hot: Oilers forward David Perron has six points (three goals) in the past six games, and Jordan Eberle has five points (two goals) in the past six. … Red Wings center David Legwand has four points (one goal) in four games since being acquired from the Nashville Predators at the NHL Trade Deadline. Defenseman Danny DeKeyser had three points (one goal) in the past four games.

Injury report: Edmonton defenseman Anton Belov (oblique) is on injured reserve. … In addition to Zetterberg, Detroit right wing Mikael Samuelsson (shoulder) is on IR. Datsyuk, goalie Jonas Gustavsson (groin) and forwards Darren Helm (upper body), Stephen Weiss (sports hernia) and Daniel Cleary (knee) are listed as day-to-day. Jurco and center Joakim Andersson (broken foot) are out.

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