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WGD #8: Three things to watch for against Edmonton

Following last night’s 5-1 defeat against the Flames, the Red Wings are looking to record at least one win during the final game of their three-game road trip. Along with losing three straight games, the Red Wings have also allowed a combined 15 goals over that same span as well.

With the way the Oilers have been scoring goals at such a high rate this season, that number will probably rise even higher after tonight’s game. Although, preventing an opponent from scoring five goals for the fourth game in a row will likely be an accomplishment for the Red Wings, even if they don’t come away with the win.

Projected Lines

Detroit Red Wings

DEFENSIVE PAIRINGS
Trevor Daley
TREVOR DALEY
Filip Hronek
FILIP HRONEK
Patrik Nemeth
PATRIK NEMETH
Mike Green
MIKE GREEN
Dennis Cholowski
DENNIS CHOLOWSKI
Alex Biega
ALEX BIEGA

Unless the department of NHL Saftey is going to suspend forward Darren Helm prior to tonight’s game, then he’ll very likely slot next to center Jacob de la Rose on the fourth line again. Secondary scoring has been a glaring problem for the Red Wings so far this season, which means they’ll need their first line to generate the majority of their scoring once again to defeat the Oilers.

Fun fact from OddsShark.com – Detroit are 8-3 SU in their last 11 games when playing on the road against Edmonton.

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Through seven games, the Red Wings’ top line has produced eleven of their 18 goals scored this season. Hopefully, the trio of Dylan Larkin, Anthony Mantha and Tyler Bertuzzi will be able to finally receive some support in Edmonton, but it’ll likely fall on their shoulders once again to outscore the Oilers’ high powered offense.

Edmonton Oilers 

Other than for their ugly performances against Vancouver and Calgary, the Red Wings have done an effective job with avoiding many blowout-loses. However, this game against the Oilers may be one the Red Wings will have to forget about afterward. So far this season, the Oilers’ offense has exploded thanks to the outstanding performances by captain and face of the franchise Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl.

Through seven games, McDavid and Draisaitl currently sit atop of the scoring leaders in the league. The Oilers also own the leading goal scorer as well, who in fact doesn’t even play on their first line. Forward James Neal leads the league with his eight goals, which means the Red Wings will need to prevent not just one line from overpowering their team but both of the Oilers’ top-two lines.

Three Thoughts

Discipline 

Despite scoring the lone goal for the Red Wings last night, Darren Helm’s game misconduct penalty for slashing Elias Lindholm hindered his team’s ability to mount a comeback against the Flames. More than likely, Helm will eventually be suspended by the league for his inexcusable action. During this game against the Oilers, the Red Wings can’t afford to record a total of 21 penalty minutes as they did yesterday.

Overall, the Red Wings’ penalty-killing unit currently ranks ninth-worst throughout the entire league. With a success rate of just 72.2% on the penalty kill, the Red Wings will need to improve their discipline when it comes to taking penalties. With the Oilers sitting atop of the league with their 45.5% success rate on the power play, the Red Wings will suffer another lopsided defeat if their squad can’t stay out of the sin bin.

Shots Against 

Coming into tonight’s game, the Red Wings have allowed the fourth-most number of shots per game. The Red Wings have given up an average of 33.5 shots/game through seven games this season. If this rate continues against the Oilers, it’s very likely goaltender Jonathan Bernier will be tasked with keeping his team in the game.

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Despite the Oilers generating the fewest number of shots per game (25.6) in the league this season, they’ll definitely take advantage of those shots on net if their team is given them.

Unstoppable Connor McDavid 

The Red Wings are about to endure the very tough task of attempting to contain arguably the best player in the entire league. McDavid has been producing at an unbelievable rate so far this season. As it stands right now, McDavid is currently on pace to score a mindblowing 199 points this season.

With his 17 points through seven games, McDavid joined Hall-of-Famer Wayne Gretzky as the only players in Oilers’ history to produce 17 points through just seven games. While it may be near impossible to prevent McDavid from producing in this game, the Red Wings will need to focus on containing his teammates through 60 minutes.