EDMONTON - The Edmonton Oilers have been one of the league's mysteries this season.
With so much expected of the Connor McDavid-led team, they stumbled out to a 4-7-1 record in their first 12 games. But they had a strong performance at home Friday night, handily defeating the New Jersey Devils, 6-3.
The Wings were happy to keep Oilers fans mystified as they jumped out to a 2-0 first-period lead en route to a 4-0 shutout at Rogers Place Sunday afternoon.
The Wings improved to 7-7-1, 5-5-0 on the road.
1. Gustav Nyquist : The Wings' brief power play had just expired but the team was still buzzing in the offensive zone. Both Gustav Nyquist and Justin Abdelkader went to the net and it was Nyquist who put captain Henrik Zetterberg's pass past Oilers goaltender Cam Talbot. It was Nyquist's fifth goal of the season, tying him with Frans Nielsen for second on the team. Anthony Mantha has seven goals to lead the Wings. Abdelkader was credited with the second assist. Unfortunately for the Wings, Nyquist's right knee hit defenseman Eric Gryba's knee late in the first period. Nyquist did not come out for the second period and the Wings announced later that he had suffered a lower-body injury and would not return. Nyquist finished with six shifts for 4:46, two shots, two blocked shots and was plus-1.
Quotable: "It looks like it's a day-to-day thing. I can't give an answer on tomorrow yet. We'll wake up tomorrow and kind of see where it's at. But it's not as bad as maybe it originally looked." - Wings coach Jeff Blashill
Quotable II: "It's tough. He's one of our more talented players and better players, so hopefully it's not too serious. It's always tough to lose anyone but especially a guy like that." - Frans Nielsen
2. Frans Nielsen: Blashill started Nielsen, who was playing in his 700th career game. At 3:23 of the first period, defenseman Nick Jensen shot from the right point and Nielsen stuck out his stick, deflecting the puck past Talbot, who had no chance. It was Nielsen's fifth goal of the season, tying him with Nyquist for second on the team in that category. Darren Helm also assisted on the goal.
Quotable: "Hopefully we learn some stuff from tonight and we can see that when we don't make those mistakes in the neutral zone and turn pucks over, when we play a more simple game and try to outwork the opponents, we can be a really tough team to play against. We've got a lot of skill here, so once the opportunity comes, we can take advantage of that. I think we played a good patient game, got pucks deep and worked hard, so hopefully we will learn from this." - Nielsen
3. Petr Mrazek/Martin Frk: Petr Mrazek was making his first start for the Wings since Oct. 20 at home against the Washington Capitals, a game the Capitals won on Alex Ovechkin's overtime goal. Mrazek made 36 saves for his second win of the season (2-2-1). It is Mrazek's 11th career shutout and first since Feb. 4, 2017 at Nashville. Teams had caught on to Frk's booming shot from the left circle, not unlike Ovechkin, on the power play. Frk had also moved down to the fourth line. But against the Oilers, Blashill had Andreas Athanasiou centering Tomas Tatar and Frk. With the injury to Nyquist, Frk saw more ice time and mad the most of it, scoring at 11:13 of the second on a nice pass from Mantha. Mantha later scored his team-leading seventh goal at 6:30 of the third, a power-play rebound of Frk's shot. Mike Green got the second assist.
Quotable: "I think what I learned from last year is when you haven't played for a while you have to work hard and keep doing what you're doing. If you work hard in practice you stay in the game." - Mrazek
Quotable II: "I thought he was excellent. He made some saves point-blank on Connor McDavid, we all know how good he is. Petr's put tons of work in, both in the summer and in the moments he hasn't been playing here in the last bit. He's put tons of work in, he's improved his technique, he was totally ready for this opportunity so that's great for Pete." - Blashill