The Oilers will head out on the road for a four-game Eastern Conference swing that begins in Detroit against the Red Wings. Here are your game day notes.
1. After losing seven games in a row to start the season and nine of their first 10 games, the Red Wings are suddenly rolling on a three-game win streak. They’ve beaten three solid teams in the Stars, Blue Jackets, and Devils and, for the first time all year, actually look like an NHL team.
2. It’s very strange for me, somebody born in 1993, to watch the Red Wings be, well, bad. They absolutely dominated the pre-lockout era when there wasn’t a salary cap because Mike Ilitch was always down to spend money to augment a team who excelled at drafting and developing. Even after the cap was implemented, the Wings continued to find success. Steve Yzerman passed the torch to Nicklas Lidstrom who passed it to Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg. Seamlessly, the Wings managed to navigate through star players coming and going while remaining competitive.
3. The Red Wings are now going through their first period of turbulence since the 1980s. Pavel Datsyuk retired from the NHL after the 2015-16 season and that marked the beginning of the end of Detroit’s massive period of contention. Since then, they’ve missed the playoffs two years in a row for the first time since the early 80s and they’re primed to miss again this spring. Captain Henrik Zetterberg’s “retirement” this summer was the final nail in the coffin as he was the last real star player on the Wings connected to their earlier glory days.
4. Now the Wings are navigating through a rebuild for the first time in ages. With the retirement of Zetterberg, they don’t really have a true, marquee star player on the roster. Could Dylan Larkin evolve into that guy? Maybe it’s 2018 first-round pick Filip Zadina. Or, maybe it’s somebody they haven’t drafted yet. With a little lottery luck, the Red Wings could end up with Jack Hughes, which would certainly set them in the right direction.
5. As I mentioned above, maybe Larkin is that guy. He’s played very well as of late and has been a major catalyst in Detroit’s aforementioned three-game winning streak. In those last three games, Larkin has seven points, which is as many as he had in his previous 10 games.
6. The Wings, as you’d expect from a bad team, struggle to both score and keep the puck out of the net. Only four times this season has Detroit scored four or more goals in a game. Those are the four games they’ve won. On the other side of that, the Wings haven’t allowed fewer than two goals in a game yet this year. Also, only twice have they allowed fewer than three goals. Prior to this three-game win streak, they had been outscored by a whopping 21 to 41 margin.
7. Do the Red Wings do anything well? Yes! Surprisingly for a team with only four wins, their special teams have been quite solid this year. They rank ninth in the league in power play efficiency (26.19%) and 10th in the league on the penalty kill (80.77%).
8. That just goes to show you how bad the Wings are at even strength. We know all too well how important special teams are, so if you’re operating with an above average power play and penalty kill and you’re still sitting with a 4-7-2 record, that isn’t a good sign. The Wings rank dead last in the league in terms of 5-on-5 goal differential as they’ve scored just 16 goals while allowing 29 goals at even strength.
9. This is an important game for the Oilers as they embark on a four-game road trip through the Eastern Conference. After this one in Detroit, they’ll head to Washington on Monday, then Tampa Bay on Tuesday, and, finally, Sunrise on Thursday. That’s a difficult travel schedule with a couple of very good teams mixed in there.
10. One thing I’ve noticed about the Oilers this year is how they play up to the other team. They looked great against Nashville, arguably the best team in the league, in both of their meetings thus far, and they were great against other top teams in Winnipeg, Washington, and Pittsburgh. Now we’ll see if they play down to the levels of bad opponents. The only real bad team Edmonton has played thus far is the Rangers. That was their first game back from Europe and they looked sluggish, but you can probably blame some of that on the jetlag. Back-to-back road games against the Capitals and Lightning will be tough, so it’s important the Oilers beat up on bad teams like Detroit when they have the opportunity.
11. It’ll always be funny to me that Detroit’s new downtown stadium from the top looks like a giant box of Little Caesars Pizza.
It’s been another action-packed seven days for our beloved Edmonton Oilers since we last recorded, and they finished their week with a 3-1 record which gave us plenty to talk about. We start things off by recapping the week that was, specifically going through the games against Minnesota and Chicago and talking about how sometimes the stats don’t always match up to results. With that in mind, Cooom drops a hot take on us about a major player being moved out of town, and we give our thoughts on whether or not it will happen. Major player? Leaving? Say it ain’t so, Cooom.
From peewee to the pros, Albertans loves the atmosphere, energy, and life lessons that take place at rinks across the province. And where there’s an arena, you’ll find an ATB branch nearby—with our team members cheering and fundraising along with you. See more information at ATB.com.
Source: NHL, Official Game Page, 11/03/2018 – 7:00 am MT