| OILERS vs RED WINGS: |
AT THE MORNING SKATE
A depleted crew took to the ice for Oilers morning skate Friday, with Ethan Moreau, Tom Gilbert, and Shawn Horcoff among the absentees.
In keeping with Head Coach Pat Quinn's "win and you're in" goaltending schedule, Devan Dubnyk will get the start tonight. With 10 starts on his resume, the rookie goalie is still looking for his first win -- a cause Quinn says the team is rallying around.
"He's liked by his teammates and they know he's been working hard and I think they would certainly very much appreciate a good result for him tonight," the coach said. "It means we'll have to be a lot better than we were against, say, the Wild to help our goaltender achieve that."
A win tonight over Detroit will be a tough task, but the Oilers say they're up for it.
"Obviously they're a great team and they've got a lot of skill, but it just makes us more keen on our system work and more focused," Assistant Coach Kelly Buchberger explained. "We know they've been playing better of late and we've got to make sure we come out ready tonight."
Forward Shawn Horcoff added that although the Wings struggled earlier in the season, they have bounced back and are yet again a force to be reckoned with.
"They're a team that has also battled some injuries this year and it's affected where they are in the standings, but they're pretty close to healthy now, outside of maybe (Jonathan) Ericsson, and they seem to be playing well so it's going to be a real tough test tonight," he said.
Young blueliner Taylor Chorney is prepared to face a playoff-hungry club tonight.
"They're a team that has made the playoffs for probably like the last 15 years or something crazy and right now they're on the bubble so you've got to figure, as a veteran group, they're pretty hungry and I'm sure they're going to be coming in ready to play," he said. "For a young group like us, it's definitely a good challenge and I'm looking forward to it."
Sam unconcerned with line switch
After being demoted to fourth line at yesterday's practice, Sam Gagner could be frustrated with the change, but the young forward had nothing but positive things to say Friday morning.
"No matter who you're playing with, you've got to find a way to contribute. We're rolling four lines right now and everybody's getting the opportunity to play equal minutes, a lot of minutes, and I think obviously that's a good thing for guys going forward."
Gagner takes pride in his effort on the ice and said that being a good teammate is his number one priority as the season winds down.
"You want to be a guy that your teammates look to in important situations and they say, 'He's going to show up, he cares, and he wants to be a winner," he explained. "I think if you don't have that respect from your teammates, you're not going to go a long way in this game.
"It's the most humbling game there is. The only thing you can really bring is your effort and your preparation, and from there, hopefully gain the respect from your teammates and move forward. Everybody in here is looking towards doing that."
OILERS 3 - RED WINGS 2 (SO)
After taking an early 2-0 lead and staving off the Red Wings through the majority of the game, the Oilers seemed destined for a 2-1 win -- rookie goalie Devan Dubnyk's first -- Friday night. But with less than one second left in regulation, Detroit's Brian Rafalski scored to shatter the dream and force extra time.
Thankfully, Dubnyk knew how to put it back together: with two saves in overtime and two in a shootout, the Alberta native got the monkey off his back and earned the first 'W' of his NHL career.
Andrew Cogliano and Ryan Whitney scored Edmonton's two goals, while Gilbert Brule assisted on both plays and was credited with the shootout game-winner.
Author: Jen Sharpe | edmontonoilers.com, with files from Bob Stauffer