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NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Friday, March 14th (All times Eastern)
Edmonton Oilers (23-36-8) at Detroit Red Wings (29-23-13), 7:30 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Detroit Red Wings will try to get back on track Friday night with a sixth straight victory over the Edmonton Oilers as the two clubs clash at Joe Louis Arena.
The Red Wings have lost two straight and four of their last five games, putting them two points back of the second wild card spot in the Eastern Conference.
Detroit, though, picked up a 5-0 road win over Edmonton back on Nov. 2 to extend its series winning streak to five straight games. The Red Wings are 12-0-2 in their past 14 versus the Oilers overall, having not suffered a loss in regulation to the club since Dec. 3, 2009.
That was also the last time that the Red Wings lost at home to the Oilers, winning seven straight since.
Detroit was bested 4-1 by the Columbus Blue Jackets on Tuesday, getting a goal from Danny DeKeyser.
Jimmy Howard was a scratch due to the flu, with Petr Mrazek making 33 saves in his first start since Jan. 12.
"It's a disappointing loss, but we've got to regroup and get back at it," Red Wings head coach Mike Babcock said. "There's no time to feel sorry for ourselves."
The Red Wings are dealing with a long list of injured players, one that includes Henrik Zetterberg, Pavel Datsyuk, Daniel Cleary and Darren Helm. Tomas Jurco recently joined that list due to a fractured rib suffered on Tuesday.
Detroit has already lost 294 man games this season and prospect Teemu Pulkkinen could make his NHL debut tonight in place of Jurco. The 22-year-old has 26 points and 51 points in 60 games in the American Hockey League this season.
He will be the ninth player to make his NHL debut for the Red Wings in the past 14 months.
The good news is that Howard has recovered to start tonight and is 9-1-2 with a 1.96 goals against average in his career versus the Oilers.
Edmonton has split the first two of a four-game road trip that ends on Sunday versus the Carolina Hurricanes. The Oilers dropped a 6-2 decision to the St. Louis Blues on Thursday despite the game being tied going into the third period.
David Perron and Mark Fraser lit the lamp for the Oilers, who had won three of four going in. Ben Scrivens took the loss, allowing all six goals on 37 shots.
"I don't care how good they are," said Oilers coach Dallas Eakins. "We were able to play with them for two periods. We should be able to do it for 20 more minutes. We've got to be stronger on pucks against stronger forechecking teams like this."
Perron has two goals and two assists over a four-game point streak, while Fraser scored his first goal in 111 games. His last tally came on March 2, 2010.
Taylor Hall, meanwhile, had an assist to give him six points in his previous five games.
The Oilers could go back to Viktor Fasth in net tonight. He made his Oilers debut on Tuesday in a shootout win over the Minnesota Wild. He is 1-1-0 with a 3.61 GAA in two previous games versus the Red Wings.
03/14 10:59:49 ET