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Wings hope to keep rolling against Oilers

by Brian Hedger /
RED WINGS (20-10-1) at OILERS (14-15-3)


Last 10: Detroit 7-3-0; Edmonton 2-7-1.

Season Series: Detroit took the first of four meetings this season 3-0 at Joe Louis Arena on Nov.11, as Jimmy Howard collected the shutout and the Wings got goals from Drew Miller, Niklas Kronwall and Valtteri Filppula.

Big Story: The Red Wings are coming into Edmonton with a lot of confidence after lighting up the L.A. Kings 8-2 at home on Saturday night and holding a seven-game winning streak against the Oilers – who dropped a 3-2 game against San Jose on Saturday after heading into the third period tied 2-2. Edmonton has gone winless in eight of its last 10 games, but is hoping it's 9-5-2 home record comes into play when the Wings roll into town. It could merely because Detroit is still sub-par on the road with a 7-8-0 record in 15 games away from the Motor City.

Team Scope:

Red Wings: Detroit is now starting to get production out of its secondary scoring option, as Drew Miller and Corey Emmerton both scored twice in Saturday's rout of the Kings. If they can keep that going, it's going to make Detroit even tougher to stop than the Wings already are with the likes of Pavel Datsyuk, Henrik Zetterberg, Johan Franzen, Valtteri Filppula and a host of others dominating puck possession.

"I think it's huge to get the contribution from everyone," Miller said. "There's going to be nights where our big guys aren't scoring all the time. You count on your third- and fourth-line guys to chip in and come up big for the team."

Oilers: After a nice start, Edmonton's youth-filled roster has run into another tough stretch that's sunk the Oilers into a tie for last place in the Northwest Division with the Colorado Avalanche and 12th in the Western Conference with 31 points – which has them six points out of the top eight at this point. They're also coming back from a three-game road trip without a win and were outscored by a margin of 10-4 despite making the last game against the Sharks close. The Oilers held a 2-1 lead in that game in the second period, including Jordan Eberle's 12th goal of the season, but they just couldn't hold off San Jose – which got the game-winner from Patrick Marleau early in the third. Sharks coach Todd McLellan, however, was quite impressed by Edmonton’s top line of Taylor Hall, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Eberle – which Oilers coach Tom Renney reunited during Saturday's game to get a spark.

"They've got a lot of pressure in everybody's zone the way they're playing," McLellan said. "If you're a fan of hockey, they're a great threesome to watch. They're young, they're excited to play and they're very gifted. They're going to do Edmonton proud for many years."

Who's Hot: Niklas Kronwall has a goal and 5 assists in his past six games, while Todd Bertuzzi has a five-game point streak and has recorded an assist in four consecutive games for the Wings. Hall has been hot in the two games since he returned from a shoulder injury that nearly cost him three weeks. He scored a pair of goals in a loss to the Phoenix Coyotes last Thursday and then added an assist to garner third-star of the game honors against San Jose on Saturday night. Eberle has 5 goals and 5 assists in his last 10 games.

Injury Report: Forward Jan Mursak (fractured ankle) has returned to practices, but isn't ready to play yet while forward Patrick Eaves (fractured jaw) and Chris Conner (fractured hand) are recovering. … Defenseman Cam Barker (ankle) is still out until likely February for the Oilers.

Stat Pack: During Detroit's seven-game win streak against Edmonton, Filppula has 3 goals and 4 assists to lead the Wings. Datsyuk has also been red hot for the Wings, scoring eight goals and adding 15 assists in the past 15 games. The Oilers have the League's top-ranked power play on home ice, where they've converted 17 of 69 chances (24.6 percent).

Puck Drop: When the Oilers humbled the highly-skilled Chicago Blackhawks 9-2 at Rexall Place on Nov.19, they ended a four-game losing streak and it looked like they might be able to use that big win to re-spark their season. Instead, Edmonton has stumbled to a 4-8-1 mark in the following 13 games.

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