Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Game Preview: Wings at Oilers

Red Wings (48-16-9, 105 pts)
Oilers (35-28-9, 79 pts)

Lets see how the Wings can respond from a 5-3 loss to Calgary last night against a tough Edmonton team.

Edmonton outlook: The Oilers are kind of treading water at this point, hoping to hold on to that 7 spot. In all likelihood they won't climb any higher than 7 but could very easily drop out of the race all together. They're 4-2-4 in their last 10 and haven't had much recently to celebrate about. Lubomir Visnovsky, one of the Oilers best players, has been out of the lineup since February following surgery. Erik Cole going back to Carolina has left a gap yet to be filled and the Oilers may be regretting it. Patrick O'Sullivan, who came over in the deal for Cole, has only tallied 3 points in 9 games, not enough for the struggling Oilers.

Detroit outlook: With only 9 games left and 8 of the games against +.500 teams, this stretch will be a good test for how well we can prepare and stay healthy for the start of the playoffs. The good news for tonight's game is that we're 3-0 against Edmonton this season, outscoring them 16-6. Hopefully we can continue our streak against them and catch up to the Shark a little bit. Important thing to watch is how Ozzie and Conklin respond after giving up a total of 5 goals. We have a good road record while the Oilers have a worse home record than away.

What to look for: Detroit, as I always say, plays puck possession hockey and can force you to take penalties. This could be a big part of tonight's game as the Oilers take about 15 minutes worth of penalties per game and have allowed 7 of the 16 goals against the Wings on the powerplay. From Edmonton: Ales Hemsky (leads EDM in G,A, Points), Shawn Horcoff, Dustin Penner, and Denis Grebeshkov are all big parts of the Oilers success. From Detroit: Marian Hossa, Pavel Datsyuk, Jiri Hudler, and Brad Stuart.
Also, look for Zack Stortini to mix it up physically for the Oilers. I would like to see a Wing step up physically, but then again, Stortini would just give us another player with Lilja symptoms.

Puck drops at 9:30 PM ET and as always, GO WINGS!

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