DETROIT, MI - The Edmonton Oilers look to bounce back from Thursday’s 6-2 loss to the St. Louis Blues as they take on the Detroit Red Wings in a rink that they do not have a whole lot of success in.
The last time the Oilers won a game at Joe Louis Arena was on December 3, 2009 — a 4-1 victory. They have lost seven straight since then. Detroit has gotten at least a point in 42 of its last 44 meetings with the Oilers (31-2-11). However, the Oilers will be facing a much different Red Wings team tonight.
“They've got a good hockey team. It's a tough building to play, and (especially) in back to back games,” said Boyd Gordon.
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins echoed Gordon’s statement.
“These guys are a very veteran team. They're always good at home. It doesn't matter that we played last night,” he said.
Detroit will be without Henrik Zetterberg, Pavel Datsyuk, Tomas Jurco, Darren Helm, Mikael Samuelsson, Stephen Weiss, Daniel Cleary and Joakim Andersson.
On top of that, goaltender Jimmy Howard is expected to get the start in goal but he is just coming off a bout with the flu.
The injury woes have seen the Red Wings only win one of their last five games as they have slipped out of the playoffs and into ninth in the Eastern Conference, two points behind Philadelphia.
LANDER REMAINS WITH TEAM
Centre Anton Lander remains with the team on emergency recall, meaning that Sam Gagner is questionable to play tonight. Lander spoke with Oilers play-by-play man Jack Michaels this morning about playing the waiting game as he tries to find an opportunity to get in the lineup.
“It’s nothing I can control. It’s up to the coach and organization. I can just do my best and do whatever they say I’m going to do,” said Lander.
Lander has found an offensive touch this season in Oklahoma City, with 18 goals and 48 points in 43 games to lead the team.
“I think I’ve played with more confidence and played with great players too. That’s helped a lot. I’m also playing in different situations, power play and PK,” he began. “I think it was more after I got sent down from training camp. I had a meeting with Dallas and Mac and what they wanted me to work on, why I got sent down. And that’s something I’ve thought about and tried to bring energy to games and work on in practice.”
Lander also talked about trying to translate that success he has found in Oklahoma City to the big club, should he get a chance to play.
“I think you’ve got to go out and have fun, play your own game and play the system but use your linemates. Move the puck quick. Everyone is skilled on this team so whoever you play with, give them the puck and they’re going to create something good with it.”
Particularly, if Gagner is injured, Lander could find himself playing with Taylor Hall and David Perron should Eakins not tweak any of the other lines.
“Maybe it’s a different opportunity. I’m really excited if that will be the case tonight.”
FASTH START TONIGHT?
Oilers head coach Dallas Eakins did not address the media this morning, but given the head coach's thoughts on trying to avoid playing the same goaltender on back-to-back nights, it appears likely that Viktor Fasth will get the call tonight against the Red Wings. -- Marc Ciampa, edmontonoilers.com with files from Jack Michaels
NHL.COM GAME PREVIEW
OILERS (23-36-8) at RED WINGS (29-23-13)
TV: SNET-W, FS-D
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.
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.
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," Turco 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.