Goooooooooooooooooooooooood afternoon Winging It In Motown! Here are some updates from the team as far as this afternoon goes:
Franzen and Eaves out tonight, Helm and Samuelsson in for Red Wings at Edmonton— Helene St. James (@HeleneStJames) November 2, 2013
The fourth line is therefore going to look a little different without Patrick Eaves. That stinks because, well, Eaves just came back. On the plus side, we do indeed get to see future Jimmy John's sandwich maker and delivery boy Darren Helm center the fourth line. Speaking of which, here are the updated lines for tonight thanks to some late switches:
|Henrik Zetterberg||Pavel Datsyuk||Todd Bertuzzi|
|Daniel Cleary||Stephen Weiss||Daniel Alfredsson|
|Tomas Tatar||Joakim Andersson||Justin Abdelkader|
|Drew Miller||Darren Helm||Mikael Samuelsson|
I wouldn't expect too much out of Helm because of the fact that this will be his first game in eighteen months, according to the Freep's Helene St. James. However, I'm hoping he contributes in some way. Who knows, maybe a (broken) back-check.
The Oilers enter the game with more of the same disappointing expectations, in addition to a very livid and seemingly burnt Dallas Eakins. The Red Wings will have a great match up with a very young and inexperienced team, but the key is to get on the board early and hold the lead. The Wings are playing against a team that does not feel very good about itself, and getting on the board early will set in some déjà vu for the Oilers and hopefully take a step out of the team and the crowd.
I know optimism abounds for playoffs but if 90 points is minimum to qualify in West, Oilers need to go 41-27 remainder of season.— Craig Button (@CraigJButton) November 2, 2013
Anyway, that usually skillful optimism has a very depleted lineup tonight, with defenseman Justin Schultz, forward David Perron, Taylor Hall, Tyler Pitlick, Ryan Smyth, and Jesse Joensuu all out of the lineup. Ryan Hamilton is supposedly playing, but he's on the IR according to the Oilers official roster. Here are the projected lines for the Oilers:
Offense that sells tickets:
|Ryan Jones||Ryan Nugent-Hopkins||Jordan Eberle|
|Nail Yakupov||Sam Gagner||Ales Hemsky|
|Mark Arcobello||Boyd Gordon||Ryan Hamilton|
|Luke Gazdic||Will Acton||
Defense (or Defence, because Canada) that doesn't win championshps:
|Ladislav Smid||Jeff Petry|
|Anton Belov||Phillip Larsen|
|Andrew Ference||Nick Schultz|
Goaltenders (it's still Dubnyk's fault):
|Richard Bachman (starting)|
Devyn Dubnyk is day to day, not to say anyone is rushing him back.
The only thing the Oilers have going for them is a respectably hot goaltender (Bachman has a 2.4 GAA on a cruddy defensive team in two starts) who has made save after save after save. On top of that, the Red Wings are well traveled at this point in time. Perhaps the other team is out of it, but the comments section over on The Copper & Blue is already predicting how many goals Pavel Datsyuk will score in the first period.
This game should be fun.
NOTE: The WiiM prediction contest is back. Two of our WiiM faithful are undertaking the task of keeping track of all the predictions and you can click on the link above to read all the details. How will it work? Just leave your predictions in the comments of the morning skates before the game starts. Tell us what you think the final score will be, which team you think will win, and who you think the POTG (Player of the game) will be. For example: 4-2 Red Wings, Henrik Zetterberg POTG.
Also, tonight's game will not be covered live on our GameThread twitter @WIIMGame, but keep an eye out for future contests. As always, the GameThread on SB Nation will go live just before the opening faceoff.