Red Wings brace for Oilers, McDavid
DETROIT — The Edmonton Oilers will be a big test for the Detroit Red Wings on Sunday at Joe Louis Arena.
Edmonton (8-3-1) snapped a three-game losing streak with a 4-3 shootout win against the New York Islanders in Brooklyn on Saturday night. The Oilers rallied from a 2-0 deficit.
Detroit (6-5-1) has lost four straight (0-3-1) after a 5-3 setback to the Winnipeg Jets at Joe Louis Arena on Friday night.
The Red Wings main issue has been the lack of attention to detail, which has led to them allowing 14 goals in the past three games.
“We try to focus on attention to detail in practice, doing everything right every day, and we got to continue to make sure we do a great job with it,” Detroit coach Jeff Blashill told www.mlive.com on Saturday. “If you don't have attention every day in life you're not going to have attention to detail in every game. Our attention to detail has to be perfect. If it's perfect, we're a really good hockey team.”
Said goaltender Jimmy Howard: “I think it's self-inflicted. We're playing good hockey and then we just have some mental breaks and it's costing us right now.”
Blashill said his team surrendered nine scoring chances to Winnipeg on Friday, with six or seven being Grade A opportunities. He called those numbers unacceptable.
“We had as many (chances) as we gave up (Friday),” he said. “We just got to make sure when we do give up them up they're earned and we're not shooting ourselves in the foot.”
Those kind of breakdowns could be even more costly against Edmonton, which is led by second-year star forward Connor McDavid, the top pick in the 2015 NHL Draft who has five goals and 13 points in 12 games.
Red Wings defenseman Danny DeKeyser will likely be matched up against McDavid's line.
“He's got tremendous speed and he's super explosive,” DeKeyser said of McDavid. “You've just got to be aware of where he is on the ice, and he thinks the game really well. Other guys that don't have the puck, you've got to have your man because he'll find open teammates.”
There's a good chance the Oilers will be without forwards Jesse Puljujarvi (charley horse) and Zack Kassian (lower body), who both left Saturday night's game in the first period and did not return. Edmonton coach Todd McLellan said each is doubtful for Sunday.
“To stick with it, short bench like we had,” said the Oilers Mark Letestu, who scored the only goal of the shootout Saturday night. “Basically rolling three lines and mixing a guy in, to get it to overtime and give ourselves a chance to get that second point, it was a gutsy effort.”
Patrick Maroon, Leon Draisaitl and Milan Lucic scored in regulation for the Oilers.
Howard will start in goal for Detroit. Cam Talbot made 30 saves for Edmonton against the Islanders.