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WGD: GAME 15: RED WINGS @ OILERS

 

On Thursday the Red Wings were unable to extend their winning streak to three games, dropping their game in Ottawa 3-1.

However, their kid line of Andreas AthanasiouDylan LarkinAnthony Mantha stayed hot, scoring their only goal of the game (Mantha, assisted by Larkin and Mike Green). That trio has been dominant and it at least gives Detroit fans something to look forward to every night. So far they have a 60.0 CorsiFor% (14.67 relative Corsi) and have been the Red Wings’ best line through four games of being together.

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The Red Wings might have arrived in Edmonton a week too late. The Oilers have surprisingly gotten off to a slow star to the 2017-18 season, but it looks like they are finally turning a corner. Edmonton is coming off of a decisive 6-3 win over the Devils and have now won two of their last four while averaging 3.75 goals for per game. They still aren’t perfect, but the Red Wings will be in tough against a stout top line that features Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl.

Record 6-6-1 (4th in ATL) 5-2-5 (3rd in ATL)
Goals For 2.57 GF/PG (27th) 2.50 GF/PG (t-29th)
Goals Against 2.93 GA/PG (15th) 3.25 GA/PG (23rd)
Power Play 15.2% (t-24th) 15.4% (23rd)
Penalty Kill 82.5% (t-10th) 68.3% (31st)
CorsiFor% 50.13 CF% (15th) 55.84 CF% (2nd)

THE RED WINGS

Detroit Red Wings lines via DailyFaceoff

LW C RW
Gustav Nyquist
GUSTAV NYQUIST
Henrik Zetterberg
HENRIK ZETTERBERG
Tomas Tatar
TOMAS TATAR
Andreas Athanasiou
ANDREAS ATHANASIOU
Dylan Larkin
DYLAN LARKIN
Anthony Mantha
ANTHONY MANTHA
Darren Helm
DARREN HELM
Frans Nielsen
FRANS NIELSEN
Justin Abdelkader
JUSTIN ABDELKADER
Scott Wilson
SCOTT WILSON
Luke Glendening
LUKE GLENDENING
Martin Frk
MARTIN FRK
DEFENSIVE PAIRINGS
Jonathan Ericsson
JONATHAN ERICSSON
Trevor Daley
TREVOR DALEY
Niklas Kronwall
NIKLAS KRONWALL
Mike Green
MIKE GREEN
Xavier Ouellet
XAVIER OUELLET
Nick Jensen
NICK JENSEN

 

Despite losing on Thursday, the Red Wings are not expected to change their lineup at all tonight. The Red Wings skated their “regular” lines in practice on Saturday and with Danny DeKeyser still sidelined, the blueline won’t change either.

With the second line playing very well, the Red Wings need their other two top-9 lines to step up if they’re going to start winning. Henrik Zetterberg has slowed down recently, picking up just one assist in his last six games. They definitely need a lot more out of Tomas Tatar, who has no points in that same six-game span and just five points (3G / 2A) in 14 games. The third line has done next two nothing as well. Outside of a two-goal game in Tampa Bay, Frans Nielsen has not points in eight of his last nine games. Justin Abdelkader has just two assists in that same span as he continues to be one of the most overpaid wingers in hockey.

THE OILERS

Edmonton Oilers lines via DailyFaceoff

LW C RW
Patrick Maroon
PATRICK MAROON
Connor McDavid
CONNOR MCDAVID
Leon Draisaitl
LEON DRAISAITL
Milan Lucic
MILAN LUCIC
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins
RYAN NUGENT-HOPKINS
Anton Slepyshev
ANTON SLEPYSHEV
Drake Caggiula
DRAKE CAGGIULA
Ryan Strome
RYAN STROME
Jussi Jokinen
JUSSI JOKINEN
Iiro Pakarinen
IIRO PAKARINEN
Mark Letestu
MARK LETESTU
Zack Kassian
ZACK KASSIAN
DEFENSIVE PAIRINGS
Darnell Nurse
DARNELL NURSE
Adam Larsson
ADAM LARSSON
Oscar Klefbom
OSCAR KLEFBOM
Matt Benning
MATT BENNING
Kris Russell
KRIS RUSSELL
Eric Gryba
ERIC GRYBA

The Oilers are very top heavy, especially when they play McDavid and Draisaitl together—like they are right now. McDavid is coming off of a three-assist game on Friday and enters today on a five-game point streak, recording two goals and six assists in that span. Draisaitl missed some time with an injury, but has two goals and four assists in five games since returning to the lineup. Second line centre Ryan Nugent-Hopkins has actually had a nice start as well—he leads the Oilers with six goals in 12 games.

However, the Oilers need a lot more from their wingers—specifically Milan Lucic and Ryan Strome. It must hurt to see Taylor Hall and Jordan Eberle in other uniforms when you’re looking for offence on the wing, but the salary cap will do that to you. Offseason acquisition Jussi Jokinen has been terrible as well, failing to record a goal with just one assist in 10 games. Anton Slepyshev, who skated on the second line in their last game, is listed as doubtful for tonight with an undisclosed injury.

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BETWEEN THE PIPES

Petr Mrazek will get his first start since October 20th—he sat as Jimmy Howard’s backup for the six straight games. Mrazek allowed four goals on 41 shots in his last start and has stopped 109 of 121 shots (.901 SV%) in four appearances this season.

The Oilers workhorse Cam Talbot is expected to start for Edmonton. He is coming off of a 31-save in Friday’s win over New Jersey, but has had a tough start to the season, posting a 3.09 GAA and .905 SV% in 11 starts. Talbot comes in at 3-4-0 with a 3.47 GAA and .895 SV% in seven home starts.

HOW TO WATCH

Puck-drop between the Red Wings and Oilers is at 4:00 p.m. at Rogers Place in Edmonton, Alberta. You can catch the game on Fox Sports Detroit in the United States or on SportsNet West in Canada.

Also, make sure to follow us on Twitter; we’ll have live tweets, GIFS, and all the fun stuff that a topical social media platform has.

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