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Red Wings back in action facing rested Oilers

by John Kreiser

RED WINGS (8-4-2) at OILERS (3-9-2)


Last 10: Detroit 6-2-2; Edmonton 2-6-2

Season series: The Detroit Red Wings and Edmonton Oilers meet twice this season now that they've been separated due to realignment. Detroit won all three meetings last season, including a 3-2 overtime victory at Rexall Place on March 15, and is 6-0-5 in its past 11 visits to Edmonton.

Big story: The Red Wings' swing through Western Canada is off to a smashing start. Detroit beat the Calgary Flames 4-3 on Friday, two nights after a 2-1 victory against the Vancouver Canucks. The Oilers continue to struggle; they've lost four in a row and are 1-4-0 at home.

Team Scope:

Red Wings: Detroit blew one two-goal lead against Calgary but put on a more Red Wings-like performance after taking a second one. Goals by Tomas Tatar and Justin Abdelkader provided enough cushion to survive Dennis Wideman's sixth-attacker goal with 9.8 seconds to play.

Detroit coach Mike Babcock was happy with some, but not all, of what he saw.

"We've got to learn to play and play consistently and do it each and every night," he said. "Some nights you're not going to win, you do good things but you give yourself a chance. I thought we had two good periods and one tough one."

Oilers: Edmonton has been off since Tuesday, when it took 43 shots but was shut out 4-0 at home by the Toronto Maple Leafs. The good news Friday is that starting goaltender Devan Dubnyk, whose play had improved before he was sidelined with an ankle injury, may be ready to return.

"I'll be ready to go," he told the team's website after practice Friday. "We haven't talked about it yet but I'll be ready to go if that's what they want to do."

Coach Dallas Eakins will talk with the medical and coaching staffs before making a decision, but said Friday that Dubnyk was playing better after a shaky start when he was injured.

"I thought he was gaining his confidence back," Eakins said. "He was square in the net, he was under control in the net when he didn't have much confidence [before]. He was all over the net. He's practiced hard here the last few days and I'll get a read on where he's at."

Who's hot: Pavel Datsyuk was the first star in Calgary after scoring one goal and setting up another. Jimmy Howard has won both games so far on the trip. … Oilers goalie Richard Bachman has a 2.40 goals-against average playing the past two games.

Injury report: Red Wings forward Johan Franzen (illness) left the game in Calgary and isn't likely to play. Petr Mrazek backed up Howard on Friday because Johan Gustavsson (neck) was idled and is expected to face the Oilers. Darren Helm (groin) was activated off IR and is expected to make his season debut. Jonathan Ericsson (shoulder) has been placed on long-term IR  ... Oilers star Taylor Hall (knee) is skating at practice but not ready to play. Defenseman Justin Schultz (groin) is questionable. Forward David Perron (neck) is expected to miss his second straight game. The Oilers also are missing forwards Jesse Joensuu (undisclosed), Ryan Smyth (groin) and Tyler Pitlick (knee).

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