This is the first meeting between these clubs since the eighth-seeded Oilers knocked the Presidents’ Trophy-winning Red Wings out of the playoffs in the first round last season with a 4-3 win at home in Game 6.
The Oilers went on to lose in seven games to Carolina in the Stanley Cup finals, while Detroit failed to make it past the second round for the third straight time since winning the Stanley Cup in 2001-02.
Since winning 3-1 in Los Angeles on Monday, the Red Wings (3-3-1) have been outscored 9-2 in losing the last two games of their four-game road trip. Detroit, which has dropped three of four overall, didn’t suffer its fourth loss in regulation until Nov. 16 last season.
In Thursday’s 5-1 defeat to San Jose, the Red Wings committed 16 penalties after committing 14 in a 4-1 loss to Anaheim on Wednesday. The Sharks scored five power-play goals, tying the most scored against Detroit, while the Ducks scored three times with the man advantage.
“We can’t put ourselves in that situation,” Detroit captain Nicklas Lidstrom said. “It’s the same penalty situation all over again. You can’t give that many chances to a team that good.”
Detroit is among the NHL leaders with 60 penalties.
“I thought we played real good,” Mike Babcock said after the loss to San Jose. “It was just every time they had a power play, the puck found a way into the net. Good thing we have a day off to regroup.”
The Oilers (4-2-0) have won three of their last four games, including a 2-1 victory over Vancouver on Tuesday night. Edmonton scored on its first two shots of the game, from Ethan Moreau 51 seconds in and from rookie Patrick Thoresen at the 3:01 mark.
It was the first point of the season for Moreau, who had 11 goals and 16 assists in 2005-06.
“We have some guys who are in need of a break around the net, in need of a goal,” Edmonton coach Craig MacTavish said. “The good thing is that we are finding ways to win in the interim.
“We put some pressure on them early, and it looked like it could be a pretty one-sided affair. Then, for whatever reason, we weren’t getting the shots.”
Backup goaltender Jussi Markkanen won Tuesday in his first start since Game 7 of last year’s Stanley Cup finals, but it’s been the solid play of starter Dwayne Roloson—who has recovered nicely after spraining his MCL in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup finals—that has helped the Oilers get off to a good start.
Roloson, who had a 2.50 goals-against average against the Red Wings in the playoffs last year, is 3-2-0 with a 2.42 GAA this season. He does, however, have only three wins in 17 career appearances against Detroit in the regular season.
The Oilers beat Detroit twice in the regular season in 2005-06 after earning just two victories in the 12 previous meetings in the series.