Red Wings-Oilers: Detroit GameDay Preview

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Red Wings-Oilers: Detroit GameDay Preview

Update (1:47 PM): Red Wings TV has added two pre-game videos, one with comments from Mike Babcock, the other with comments from Mark Hartigan. - Matt

Icon Sports MediaTonight marks the third of four games between the Detroit Red Wings and Edmonton Oilers this season.

The Wings lead the series 2-0, with wins October 8th (4-2) and October 30th (2-1). The final game will be on February 26th in Edmonton.

The Oilers are 3-2-1 in December, with wins in Anaheim, Los Angeles, and St. Louis. Their most recent game, a 5-4 shootout win over the Blues, ended a three-game skid in which they lost to Pittsburgh, St. Louis, and Dallas.

The Oilers are at the tail end of a three-stop road trip, and will be playing their third game in four nights.

Shawn Horcoff leads the team in in goals (15), assists (18), and points (33). He's the only Oiler with double-digit goals, but Ales Hemsky has nine.

Hemsky hasn't scored since November 30th, though he did put up three points in St. Louis on Tuesday. Horcoff, on the other hand, has 13 points in his last eight games.

Sheldon Souray returned Tuesday night after missing 25 games because of a shoulder injury—and scored a goal to celebrate. Unfortunately for Edmonton, Souray wasn't the only injured Oiler.

Via the Edmonton Sun: "Ethan Moreau, LW, foot; Matt Greene, D, foot; Geoff Sanderson, LW, back."

Defenseman Dick Tarnstrom is due to return against Detroit.

Edmonton has something of a goaltender rotation going. Dwayne Roloson started in Dallas, but was pulled after allowing three goals on six shots. Mathieu Garon fared a bit better in relief, giving up two goals on 24 shots.

Garon then started the next night in St. Louis, where he made 24 saves. It looks like Roloson will be back in net tonight.

For the Oilers perspective, see The Battle of Alberta, Covered in Oil, Lowetide, mc79hockey, always on the road, Black Dog Hates Skunks, Irreverent Oiler Fans, Nothing 2 See Here, Oil Country, Ontario, the real deal hockey, SportsGuru, and Talkin' Hockey.

The Wings are 5-0-0 in December and have gone seven games without a loss. They're coming off a draining 2-1 win over Nashville on Monday, a game which came the night after a hard-fought 5-2 win over Carolina.

Tonight's contest opens a four-game homestand that will see Detroit play host to Florida, Washington, and LA.

Three Red Wings (Henrik Zetterberg, Pavel Datsyuk, and Tomas Holmstrom) have 10 or more goals, while Dan Cleary has nine.

I'd say Cleary's due to cross that double-digit threshold.

Kris Draper (knee), Kirk Maltby (back), and Tomas Holmstrom (knee) are all out tonight. Matt Ellis, Aaron Downey, and recently called-up Mark Hartigan are filling in.

According to Mike Babcock's phone conference yesterday, Dominik Hasek is slated to start tonight, while Chris Osgood will start Saturday versus Florida.

For more of the Detroit perspective, see Snapshots, Gorilla Crouch, Abel to Yzerman, HockeyTownTodd, Gloveside, Behind the Jersey, No Pun Intended, Red Wings Nation, and Winging It In Motown.

Nathan already has a bit of a preview posted at HockeyTownTodd and George Malik has a preview roundup at Snapshots.

The Wings looked exhausted by the end of the Nashville game—but they've had a few days to rest, so hopefully they'll come out with good energy tonight.

The Oilers are having a rough season, but they have youth and enthusiasm—and grit to boot—and they'll make life difficult if the Wings aren't on top of their game.

Hasek has looked solid in his last three starts, and will hopefully continue his resurgence with a strong game tonight. With Tomas Holmstrom out of the lineup, the Wings' power play may not be as effective, but players like Mikael Samuelsson and Valtteri Filppula will have opportunities to get on track offensively.

The Oilers are 8-1 in shootouts, so if the game ends up in one, it may have a disappointing result.

(via On the Wings)

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