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WGD: GAME 22: THEY ARE LEAKING OIL

We have a massive 15-game slate of games across the NHL tonight, but the Red Wings and Oilers has the chance to be one of the more exciting games of the night.

The Red Wings have surprised a lot of people through their first 21 games of the season and come into Wednesday’s meeting with Edmonton in third place in the Atlantic Division–albeit with two games in hand on the Ottawa Senators.

As for the Oilers, they came into the season with Stanley Cup aspirations after making it back to the postseason last year and being led by the best player on the planet, Connor McDavid. However, it’s American Thanksgiving tomorrow and they sit tied for 28th in the NHL with an abysmal 7-12-2 record. To further their issues, the Oilers come in on the tail-end of a back-to-back and were absolutely pummelled in St. Louis last night–losing 8-3, but it took two late goals to even make it that close.

Let’s take a look at both of these lineups tonight:

THE RED WINGS

Detroit Red Wings lines via DailyFaceoff

The Red Wings have enjoyed a nice start to 2017-18 because of the play of their young players. Anthony Mantha has taken his game to another level, which a lot of prognosticators were expecting this season, but I don’t know if anyone was expecting him to be on a 39-goal, 35-assist (74 points) pace three-quarters of the way through November. Mantha clearly has all of the tools to be a bonafide superstar in this league and he’s doing ti right now with a fairly weak surrounding cast.

Their other top young player has been Dylan Larkin. The third-year player had some doubters coming into this season because of a terrible sophomore season, but he certainly isn’t the first and won’t be the last to suffer from the dreaded sophomore slump. Through just over a quarter of 2017-18, Larkin has rediscovered his game and looks more confident than ever. He currently leads the Red Wings in points with  20 (4G / 16A) and is on-pace for 16 goals and 63 assists…not bad.

As for tonight’s lineup, it looks like they will go  back to the traditional 12 forward, six defenseman look because Jonathan Ericsson is questionable after sustaining an injury while lifting his child out of the crib…no seriously. Ericsson is listed as a game-time decision and if he can’t play, David Booth is expected to draw in and Xavier Ouellet would play more than the three minutes he played on Sunday.

THE OILERS

Edmonton Oilers lines via DailyFaceoff

This is an Oilers team with a top-heavy lineup, with tons of really good player but much like the Red Wings, a ton of bad contracts littered throughout the lineup. Oddly enough they are having a hard time finding scoring wingers…right after trading Taylor Hall and Jordan Eberle over the last few seasons.

McDavid has been doing his best to keep the Oilers afloat, scoring 10 goals with 16 assists (26 points) in 21 games—but the 102-point pace isn’t enough without solid defence and reliable goaltending.

They recently acquired Michael Cammalleri from the Los Angeles Kings for Jussi Jokinen, who was a huge flop after signing with the team in the offseason. Cammalleri has not registered a point in three games since the trade.

Their lineup will likely look the same as last night, but Matt Benning is listed as a game-time decision and Ryan Stanton could fill that void after being recalled this morning.

BETWEEN THE PIPES

Jimmy Howard vs. Cam Talbot.

There isn’t much to say about Howard. He has been steady, he has been reliable and he has been really good at Little Caesars Arena. Sunday night slipped away from the Red Wings and that can’t happen, but it wasn’t Howard’s fault. Hw has gone 4-2-2 with a 2.47 GAA And .921 SV% at LCA and should have another good night tonight.

Talbot on the other hand has struggled to live up to what he did last season, when he led the NHL in games played and wins. He is still playing a bunch, but not playing well. He was yanked last night after allowing two goals on just three shots so that he would be ready for the Red Wings tonight. Hopefully his struggles continues for at least one more night.

 

HOW TO WATCH

Puck-drop between the Red Wings and Oilers is at 7:00p.m. at Little Caesars Arena in Detroit, Michigan. You can catch the game on Fox Sports Detroit in America and SportsNet West in Canada

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