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GAME PREVIEW: Edmonton Oilers vs. Detroit Red Wings

With two games in hand over the fourth place Golden Knights, the Oilers can start making some space with a win over Detroit tonight.

NHL: Washington Capitals at Edmonton Oilers Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

Edmonton Oilers (32-23-4, 3rd, Pacific)

Detroit Red Wings (24-28-7), 5th, Atlantic)

15 March 2022

Rogers Place

7 PM MT

TV: Sportsnet West

Radio: 630 CHED

SB Nation Opponent: Winging It In Motown

TWO IN A ROW

A two goal performance from Connor McDavid paired with a 31-save performance from Mikko Koskinen helped garner the Oilers a 4-1 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday night. Kailer Yamamoto added one, while Leon Draisaitl added another to help push the Oilers over Tampa Bay. The Oilers are Golden Knights both have 68 points in the Pacific Division. With two games in hand, the Oilers would love to create some space between the teams with a win against Detroit tonight. Can the Oilers make it three wins in a row?

Let’s go to the tape.

THE OILERS ARE SAYING

“I’m not sure what it is, I think we just find a comfort level in our game...Obviously the start is important. We haven’t found a way to get the first goal too many times, so when we do, we have to bear down and find a way to get a win. I thought we did a good job of that tonight.”

Source

That’s Connor McDavid on getting the first goal in Saturday’s 4-1 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning.

What a first goal it was. Kailer Yamamoto made a hit and had the assist. Meawhile, McDavid’s just breezed by some guy named Victor Hedman. All in a day’s work.

THE RED WINGS ARE SAYING

“We didn’t like the way we were playing, didn’t like the way it was going, but we’re still down by one goal and there’s an opportunity to get some life and get back in the game...We wanted to have some positive energy and come out in the third and try to create some looks, and we did that for a little bit of time.”

Source

That’s Red Wings forward Sam Gagner after his club’s 3-0 loss to the Calgary Flames on Saturday.

The Red Wings managed just nineteen shots in the shutout loss.

HAVE SOME OF THIS

  • This is a crucial time in Edmonton’s season: they’ve got two games in hand over the Golden Knights. Both Edmonton and Vegas have 68 total points in the standings. The Oilers are on a little roll, having recent wins over the Capitals and the Tampa Bay Lightning. The Oilers need to put their feet on the gas and hang onto third place. Maybe they catch the Kings in the process. Maybe they don’t. They need to handle their business tonight against a Red Wings squad that put up just nineteen shots in Calgary.
  • Mikko Koskinen ought to get the start tonight. He’s having a good run of things lately, going 9-1-2 in his last twelve starts dating back to late January. He’s put up a .927 SV% over that time, and it’s clear that he’s the best option currently on the roster right now. If the Oilers don’t end up making a deal for another goaltender by Monday’s trade deadline, they need to start thinking about the stretch run.
  • BIG MO: Moritz Seider is the one to watch for Detroit. The defenceman is just 20 years of age and is a strong candidate for the Calder Trophy as the league’s rookie of the year. Already with 41 points in 59 games, the 6th overall pick from the 2019 NHL Entry Draft is already Detroit’s best current blueliner. He had a goal against the Oilers last time these two teams hooked up.
  • Keeping goals out of the net has been a trouble spot for the Red Wings all season. Averaging 3.71 goals against a game, only the Montréal Canadiens are allowing more goals on average (3.78). What gives? Alex Nedeljkovic (.901 SV%) and Thomas Greiss (.891 SV%) are having a tough go at things in net.
  • BACK AT PRACTiCE: The Oilers look to be getting close to activating Jesse Puljujärvi off of IR. That’s gonna be a good day when it comes.
  • ENGAGING: I’m a pretty tough Zack Kassian critic, but if you’re going to have a 3.2MM fourth liner, he’d better be the best damn 3.2MM fourth liner he can be. If you’re not scoring goals, go help someone score a goal. And if you’re not helping someone score a goal, pester the other team to keep goals out of our net. Kassian played just over seven minutes of ice time against the Lightning on Saturday night, and he was engaged for the first time in what felt like forever. Good. More of that. Disrupt their play. Seize the means of production.

This is a big game. Go win this big game.