The Red Wings were able to earn their second consecutive victory in their second consecutive road game. They now travel to Edmonton for their second of back to back games.[singlepic id=86 w=484 h=280 float=center]
Matchup: Detroit Red Wings vs. Edmonton Oilers
Venue: Rexall Place; Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
Time: 10:00 PM EST
The Detroit Red Wings (8-4-2, 18 points, 3rd place Atlantic Division) entered this four game road trip facing the risk of extending a four game losing streak, their longest of the season. Not only have they been able to snap that streak, they have also won consecutive games for the first time since winning four in a row from October 12th to October 17th. The Red Wings will try to extend that win streak to three games tonight when they head to Edmonton to take on the Edmonton Oilers (3-9-2, 8 points, 7th place Pacific Division).
The Red Wings were able to start fast on offense last night in the first period. Despite only registering five shots on net, they were able to get goals from Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg to take a 2-0 advantage after the first period. The lead did not hold up for long though as the Flames answered with two goals that were two minutes and thirty seconds apart in the second period to tie the game at two heading to the third period. The Red Wings were able to strike quickly in the third, scoring 1:25 into the period and then were able to add an insurance goal with 3:30 to play on a goal from Justin Abdelkader. Abdelkader's goal, his second of the season, proved to be the game winner as the Flames were able to add a third goal, to bring the game within one, with ten seconds left. Despite registering only 22 shots on net, the Red Wings were able to connect four times to earn the 4-3 victory in the first of back to back games.
Edmonton comes into tonight's game with the third worst record in the NHL with only three wins. The Oilers have lost their past four games (0-3-1) while getting outscored 15-6 in that span. This is their second lengthy losing streak of the season. They previously lost five in a row from October 10th to October 17th. A loss tonight would mean five consecutive losses for the Oilers heading into a four game East Coast road trip. The Oilers are still a very young team but sooner or later are expected to contend in the Western Conference and the NHL as they have been stockpiling top draft picks for the past few years.
The Red Wings are expected to get forward Darren Helm back for the first time in nearly a year tonight. The speedy forward is a crucial part of the Red Wings penalty kill and all around balance due to his fore checking and back checking skills.
The Red Wings will start Petr Mrazek in net tonight after they placed Jonas Gustavsson on short term IR (7 days) with a sore neck. The Red Wings had said they did not want to start Howard on back to back nights so Mrazek will get to make his season debut on the road tonight.
The Oilers are expected to counter with Devan Dubnyk in net tonight. The goaltender has struggled thus far this season posting a 2-5-1 record with a 4.01 GAA and .878 save percentage. Tonight's start would be his first since a 4-1 loss to the Capitals on October 24th. He has currently missed some time with an ankle injury.
The Oilers have definitely struggled out of the gate this season and are a prime candidate to be a victim for their fifth consecutive loss tonight. The Red Wings finally showed that the offense can put up more than two goals in a game and it will be important for them to have two consecutive strong offensive outings.