Wings attempt to continue dominance over Oilers
The Detroit Red Wings are looking to find a quick solution to their recent struggles on the road, and their schedule is offering that opportunity.
After losing the opener of this six-game trip, the Red Wings attempt to continue their dominance of the NHL-worst Edmonton Oilers on Tuesday night (9 p.m. pregame, 9:30 face-off on FOX Sports Detroit PLUS).
Detroit (20-10-9) has dropped three of four games on the road, giving up the first goal in each of the last three. That was the case Saturday, when Jimmy Howard allowed the first two tallies en route to a 4-1 loss at Vancouver.
"We can’t seem to get started on the road at all," coach Mike Babcock told the team’s official website. "So that responsibility lies with me but also with our leadership group and our whole room. It’s not good enough. It’s not good enough to be unprepared to do your job."
That hasn’t been the case anywhere against the Oilers (9-22-9), as the Red Wings are 13-0-1 in their last 14 meetings while winning six straight with an 18-6 scoring edge.
They’ve claimed 11 of 12 points in their last six visits to Rexall Place, winning the most recent 5-0 on Nov. 2, 2013.
Tomas Tatar was one of five Red Wings to find the net in that matchup, and he converted the only successful shootout attempt in a 2-1 home win against Edmonton on March 14.
The left wing has 10 goals in his past 12 road games, getting one in each of the last two. Tatar’s team-leading 16 goals are three shy of his total last season.
Gustav Nyquist is just behind Tatar with 15 goals, but he has just four on the road. The right wing assisted on Tatar’s tally Saturday, giving him seven points in his past five overall.
Howard, who had 20 saves against the Canucks, will likely be back in net since he’s won 10 straight starts against Edmonton behind a 1.37 goals-against average.
While the Oilers own the fewest points in the league, they’re 7-4-1 against the Eastern Conference and scored three times in the third period en route to a 5-2 win over the New York Islanders on Sunday.
They’re 2-0-2 in four games since interim head coach Todd Nelson took sole possession of the Oilers’ bench
"In order for players to play a system that’s a bit new to them, they have to have trust in the coach," Nelson said. "A lot of these guys I’ve worked with before, and I was able to establish that with them. It’s following suit with the rest of the players. I like the way we’re applying the things we’re trying to teach out there, and it’s getting better every day.
"It always pays off when you win. It’s only been four games where we got points, but it’s a start."
Jordan Eberle and Matt Hendricks likely share that sentiment.
Eberle has a point in three straight games after getting two over the previous nine, while Hendricks’ two goals Sunday was one fewer than his total over his first 34 contests.
Eberle has three goals in five home meetings with Detroit, but none in the past two.