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Red Wings-Oilers Preview @NHL
Red Wings-Oilers Preview

GAME: Detroit Red Wings (15-4-1) at Edmonton Oilers (10-9-1).

TIME: Thursday, 9 p.m. EST.

No team has played fewer home games than the Edmonton Oilers. That and his team's performance in its last game has coach Craig MacTavish feeling confident.

The Oilers open a three-game homestand against the Detroit Red Wings, looking to beat the Central Division's top team for the second time this month.

Edmonton played 14 of its first 20 games on the road and now plays six of its next eight on home ice, where it is 3-2-1 this season.

For a team that lost seven straight games in October, the Oilers should be pleased to be heading home one game over .500, excluding one loss after regulation.

Defenseman Chris Pronger scored his first goal of the season and rookie goalie Mike Morrison won his first career start Monday in Edmonton's 5-2 victory at Colorado.

"This was a key game for me," MacTavish said. "We played 14 games away from home and only six at home. So we are poised to make a move. This was a big turning point."

Edmonton finished its road trip 4-3, which included a 4-3 overtime victory at Detroit on Nov. 3.

Morrison made 31 saves in his first start and second appearance since being recalled from the minors in late October. He has been serving as Jussi Markkanen's backup while Ty Conklin nurses a groin strain.

"I felt fine out there," Morrison said. "I just wanted to savor the moment and keep it simple, and do the things I've always done."

The Red Wings lost 3-1 to the red-hot Calgary Flames on Wednesday, dropping their second straight following a three-game winning streak. Detroit has dropped two in a row on the road after winning its first seven away from home.

"The whole West Coast, they're all tough games," goalie Manny Legace said. "You come across a couple time zones, it's tough to play out here. They play well at home, extremely well, both Vancouver and Calgary."

Robert Lang scored the lone goal for the Red Wings, who fell to 0-4 when trailing after two periods.

"You have got to look down the rink and play better than the guy across from you," coach Mike Babcock said. "That's the way it is every night."

STANDINGS (through Nov. 16): Red Wings - 31 points, 1st place, Central Division. Oilers - 21 points, 4th place, 5 PB, Northwest Division.

TEAM LEADERS: Red Wings - Brendan Shanahan, 10 goals; Pavel Datsyuk and Jason Williams, 14 assists; Datsyuk, 22 points; Chris Chelios, 54 PIM. Oilers - Raffi Torres, 10 goals; Ales Hemsky, 14 assists; Ryan Smyth, Shawn Horcoff and Hemsky, 17 points; Ethan Moreau, 41 PIM.

SPECIAL TEAMS (through Nov. 16): Red Wings - Power play: 24.3 percent (29 for 119), 2nd in NHL. Penalty killing: 86.6 percent (104 for 120), 3rd. Oilers - Power play: 17.2 percent (21 for 122), 18th. Penalty killing: 82.1 percent (101 for 123), 16th.

GOALTENDERS: Red Wings - Legace (12-3-0, 2 SO, 2.08 GAA); Chris Osgood (3-1-1, 2.33). Oilers - Markkanen (8-8-1, 2.76); Morrison (1-0-0, 1.54).

SEASON SERIES: Oilers, 1-0.

LAST MEETING: Nov. 3; Oilers, 4-3, (OT). At Detroit, Torres scored the game-winner at 1:51 of overtime, ending the Red Wings' nine-game winning streak. Tomas Holmstrom scored twice for Detroit.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Red Wings - 7-2-0 on the road; Oilers - 3-2-1 at home.

Associated Press
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