Kronwall - Lashoff
Quincy - Ericsson
Kindle - White
Season series: It's the first of three meetings between the teams this season. Detroit prevailed in three of their four meetings last season, with Drew Miller scoring four of his 14 goals against Edmonton. Sam Gagner had four goals to pace the Oilers in the series.
Big story: With an odd number of Canadian teams after Winnipeg's return to the NHL a season ago, Edmonton is the one out of seven that ends up facing a U.S.-based opponent on Hockey Day In Canada. The Oilers and Red Wings have developed a decent rivalry over the years, though -- it's hard to forget the upset eighth-seeded Edmonton pulled on Detroit in 2006 en route to the franchise's most recent trip to the Stanley Cup Final.
Oilers: In his first season behind the Edmonton bench, coach Ralph Krueger has seen his young group battle hard in almost every game. Although they enter Saturday on a four-game winless streak, the points earned from the overtime/shootout losses kept them in the playoff race. Hosting the Stars on Wednesday, they got a goal and an assist from Ales Hemsky and took the game into overtime before yielding the record 17th career overtime goal by Jaromir Jagr in a tough 3-2 setback.
"It wasn't the greatest effort from us," defenseman Justin Schultz, whose power-play goal in the third period helped earn the Oilers a point, said. "We found a way to come back in the third period, but we needed to find a way to win it."
Red Wings: The expectation is workhorse Jimmy Howard will be back in net for Detroit, but coach Mike Babcock finally was able to get him a night off Thursday in St. Louis, and he had to be heartened by the response he got from rookie Petr Mrazek. In his NHL debut, the 20-year-old stopped 26 shots and led the Red Wings to a relatively easy 5-1 win against the St. Louis Blues. Five different Wings scored goals and 11 had at least one point. Cory Emmerton finished with a goal and an assist.
"The thing I liked about the kid was that he didn't generate second chances for them," Babcock said of Mrazek. "The puck wasn't coming off. He was soft and under control. Good for the kid. It's not an easy League to play in and St. Louis is a real good team. I thought our guys played hard and battled hard and in the end got a real big win."
Who's hot: Gagner had an assist Tuesday to extend his points streak to start the season to 10 games (3-8-11). Hemsky has two goals and two assists during a three-game points streak. … Red Wings rookie Damien Brunner scored his fifth goal in 10 games Thursday.
Injury report: Edmonton forwards Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (shoulder), Darcy Hordichuk (facial laceration) and Anton Lander (foot), as well as defenseman Mark Fistric (back) all are day-to-day. Forwards Ryan Jones (eye), Ben Eager (concussion), Eric Belanger (foot) and Shawn Horcoff (hand), as well as defensemen Andy Sutton (knee) and Theo Peckham (hip) are on injured reserve. … Detroit goalies Joey MacDonald (back) and Jonas Gustavsson (groin) remain out, along with defensemen Carlo Colaiacovo (shoulder) and Brendan Smith (shoulder) and forwards Jan Mursak (collarbone), Mikael Samuelsson (groin) and Darren Helm (back)
Think I will comment on the line up for the wings, they will be changed for the game Sunday when Belanger comes back, and then on Tuesday again because we may see Jones return.
Hartikainen - RNH - Eberle
I like this. Harti adds some serious toughness to this line. He's good at working the boards, will be parked in front of the net for screens, and someone to go after dump ins. This line with Hall has been too busy playing cute with their excessive passing and refusing to dump the puck in. Hopefully RK will have beaten them out of that finally, it's the main reason the first line hasn't been producing, they keep trying to beat 3-4 people at the blue line, and ending up coughing up the puck
Hall - Gagner - Hemsky
Will miss Yak, but I see the reason here. Hemsky is a huge puck hog, and has trouble sharing, which sort of negates a sniper like Yak. Hall is here to add chaos, and would be better at picking up loose pucks, add a bit more muscle at the boards, and as well as play better defensively.
Yakupov - Smyth - Paajarvi
Weird line. Smyth is running out of gas, but then you have pure speed here with the other 2. Yak will do the Hemsky role, and I expect we all will be surprised that his defensive play is better when he is on his natural side. MPS, this is your shot to stick. I wouldn't be surprised if RNH or Gags does the occasional double shift here to replace Smyth
Eager - Vande Velde - Petrell
Doubt we will see much of this line. I expect Eager to be rusty, and a little gun shy from the rough stuff. he may get more time than horti, but not much more.
Potter - Fistric
This is one of those cross your fingers and hope to god it works kind of thing.
Hall and hemsky is going to cross check each other for the possesion of the puck all night long! That line smells turnover long way!
Hmmmmm. Here are their lines over the last six according to NHL.com
N. Yakupov -3, 2 Gva, 0 Tka, 3 G, 3 A, 6 P
A. Hemsky -1, 2 Gva, 3 Tka, 3 G, 2 A, 5 P
S. Gagner 0, 3 Gva, 1 Tka, 1 G, 6 A, 7 P
T. Hall 0, 4 Gva, 7 Tka, 1 G, 4 A, 5 P
J. Eberle -2, 2 Gva, 4 Tka, 1 G, 1 A, 2 P
Nugent-Hopkins -1, 5 Gva, 2 Tka, 0 G, 2 A, 2 P
The worst culprit in the give away/Take away ratio is Hopkins at -3. Yakupov and Gagner follow at -2. Hemsky +1, Eberle +2 and Hall +3.
+/- is Yakupov worst at -3 followed by Eberle at -2. Everyone else is 0 or -1.
Hopkins and Eberle have both contributed a whopping 2 points over those 6 games (5 for Hopkins due to injury). All the others are around 1 PPG over that same period.
Might want to re-think that.
By the way, ALL high octane offensive players make a ton of give aways. Ever watch Malkin in action? It comes with the territory. If you keep your game low event you may not commit many give aways, but you aren't going to create jack squat either. Hemsky and Hall may give it away, but they obviously get it back quite often too.
Last edited by Doppler Drift: 02-09-2013 at 07:07 AM.
That's three top 10 picks on one line, one of them being the no.1 overall and the Oilers top goal scorer.
It's not Cogliano and Nilsson but some how I think he'd survive.
What nonsense. Paajarvi, who has plateaued if not flatlined is not even remotely looking like at topten pick at this point and is looking like a complete offensive bust who we can hopefully transform into a role player. To put him in topsix at this point is a joke. He supports no offense and is virtually incapable of sustaining any play in the offensive end.
Yak as mentioned is brand new and benefits from some maturity around him. The average age of this line would be barely 21. In the NHL, playing topsix and facing line matching..