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Preview: Oilers @ Red Wings Game 23

Nail Yakupov is out after a freak injury, Jujhar Khaira is on his way up, and Justin Schultz will likely be one more game away. This is your Oilers-Red Wings Pregame. Please digest and report.

Cam Talbot gets the nod tonight.
Cam Talbot gets the nod tonight.
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports



7-14-1, 15 points, .681 p/g Ranks 11-8-3, 18 points, 1.137 p/g
Western Conference - 14th Eastern Conference -8th
30th P/G 14th
18th ST 14th
20th S/G 27th
27th Goal 11th
5:30 PM MDT
TV - Sportsnet West
Radio - 630 CHED
Joe Louis Arena
The opposing view:  Winging It In Motown

Things Are Tough All Over

Seven minutes into the game, Benoit Pouliot notched a power play goal to get the Oilers on the board.  It would be the only goal the Oilers would score en route to a 4-1 loss against the Hurricanes in Raleigh.  Edmonton looked like they were up all night pounding Natty Ice in the concourse of the arena, while the Hurricanes got goals from Jordan Staal, Elias Lindholm and Jeff Skinner.  Andrej Nestrasil had an empty netter for the Hurricanes, as Carolina cruised to a W.  The Oilers now have 14 regulation losses in 22 games, which...isn't good.  To add flames to the fire, Nail Yakupov will be out for 2-4 weeks with a sprained ankle after a freak accident with an official during a faceoff.

Things are tough all over.

The Oilers are saying

"I like to keep pairs together then have a one-in one-out situation...What I'll do is look for a complimentary piece to the remaining pair on the line.  What I'm looking for can vary.  Maybe it's shot, speed, or physical play."


That's Oilers coach Todd McLellan on how he forms a line.

McLellan will need to put on his juggler's cap one more time as he'll be without Nail Yakupov for at least a couple fo weeks.  The Oilers have recalled Jujhar Khaira from Bakersfield, and you'll be absolutely excited to see what lines two through four look like tonight.

The opponents are saying

"I think our goaltending's been real good.  They're not going to stop every puck, you got to find a way."


That's Red Wings head coach Jeff Blashill after his team's 3-2 OTL against Boston on Wednesday.

Petr Mrazek (.931 SV% in 13 GP) and Jimmy Howard (.917 SV% in 10 GP) are a pretty formidable tandem at the moment.  If Mrazek's SV% still looks like that in ten games, look out.

Have some of this

  • All signs pointed to Justin Schultz returning to the lineup for tonight's game in Detroit.  That is, until yesterday, when all signs then pointed to him returning to the lineup tomorrow in Pittsburgh.  Schultz has missed the last baker's dozen with a back injury.
  • The Oilers have recalled Jujhar Khaira from Bakersfield in wake of Nail Yakupov's Freak Ankle Injury.™ Khaira has seven points (3-4-7) in sixteen games with the Condors.  I don't know if he'll get into the game tonight, but if I was throwing a dart, he'd replace Lander.  Speaking of lines...
  • CHECK OUT THOSE LINES - Nail Yakupov's absence has created another crater in the lineup. Top line of 4-29-14 still looks nice, but line two has got Nuge between Korpikoski and Tedward.  Third line looks like Mark Letestu between Benoit Pouliot and Hendricks, while the fourth line of Anton Lander, Luke Gazdic and Iiro Pakarinen will wear Oiler jerseys as well.
  • Cam Talbot (3-8-0, .890 SV% / 3.08 GAA) will start between the pipes for Edmonton.  Detroit will likely counter with Jimmy Howard (5-4-1, .917 SV% / 1 SO)
  • SOME GOOD NEWS? Sportsnet reports that Connor McDavid is "weeks ahead" of his recovery time, suggesting the young phenom could return as soon as January.  The Oilers have won only two games since McDavid's injury on November 3rd.
  • Connor McDavid (clavicle), Justin Schultz (back), Nail Yakupov (ankle) and  Rob Klinkhammer (lower body) are out. The Wings will miss Kyle Quincey (ankle) and Johan Franzen (concussion)