The Edmonton Oilers face the tough task of slowing down the Detroit Red Wings on Thursday at home, something they couldn't do earlier in the week in Detroit.
The Red Wings (12-2-3) are riding a three-game winning streak as they open a three-game road trip, and have gone 5-0-1 in their last six. If not for a blown three-goal lead in the third period Nov. 11 against Pittsburgh, Detroit could have made it six in a row with Monday's 4-0 victory over the Oilers (9-8-2).
With backup goalie - and former Oiler - Ty Conklin stopping 21 shots, the Red Wings earned their first shutout of the season. Conklin and Chris Osgood have allowed eight goals in the last five victories.
Detroit has leaned on Conklin (5-1-0, 2.47 goals-against average) lately, giving him consecutive starts. He has responded by winning both and giving up two goals.
"It's nice for everybody. We've been scoring a lot of goals and winning a lot of games, but we want to be better in our end and cut down the number of goals," Conklin said. "This is most probably as solid of a 60-minute effort, especially defensively, as we've had all year."
Should Conklin get a third straight start, he will look for his second win in three tries over Edmonton, where he spent the first three seasons of his career. In his only other meeting with the Oilers on Jan. 31, 2007, he tied a career high by giving up five goals in a 5-2 loss for the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Osgood has gone 16-8-3 with four ties and a 2.26 GAA versus the Oilers. His GAA is 2.60 in Edmonton, where Osgood has a 6-5-2 mark with one tie.
Red Wings right wing Johan Franzen scored for the fifth straight game Monday and fourth since returning from a sprained left knee on Nov. 11. Defenseman Niklas Kronwall extended his point streak to four games with a goal and an assist, while Henrik Zetterberg added two assists.
It was the first time Franzen scored in his last eight games against the Oilers, but Zetterberg has 12 goals and seven assists in the last 18 meetings, including a five-game goal streak in the 2006 playoffs.
Marian Hossa, who leads the Red Wings with 23 points, saw a streak of four consecutive two-point games end Monday.
Edmonton rebounded from that Detroit loss with a 7-2 win Tuesday at Columbus. Seven players contributed to the season-high seven goals, and the victory snapped a three-game losing streak for the Oilers, who have gone 3-4-1 over their last eight.
"We haven't won one like that this year," Edmonton coach Craig MacTavish said. "We capitalized on our all chances after we didn't capitalize on any (versus Detroit)."
Edmonton, near the bottom of the NHL in penalty killing at 75.9 percent, faces one of the league's best power-play units in the Red Wings (32.4). The Oilers have allowed six power-play goals in their last four games and Detroit has scored at least one in four consecutive contests, going 7-for-19 over that span.
The Red Wings have gone 8-for-30 on the power play in the last six meetings with the Oilers, scoring at least once with the man advantage in each game.
Detroit and Edmonton have split their last four matchups with both of the Oilers' wins coming 4-3 in a shootout.