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Gameday Updates: Detroit Red Wings at Edmonton Oilers: Line Combinations, Key Matchups

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NHL: Edmonton Oilers at Detroit Red Wings Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Red Wings Lineup

Forwards

Tomas Tatar Henrik Zetterberg Anthony Mantha
Andreas Athanasiou Frans Nielsen Gustav Nyquist
Dylan Larkin Darren Helm Justin Abdelkader
Mitch Callahan Riley Sheahan Luke Glendening

Defensemen

Dan DeKeyser Mike Green
Niklas Kronwall Nick Jensen
Xavier Ouellet Ryan Sproul

Goaltenders

Petr Mrazek
Jared Coreau

Power Play Units

PP1 – Athanasiou, Nielsen, Abdelkader, Kronwall, Zetterberg

PP2 – Larkin, Helm, Mantha, Tatar, Green

Oilers Lineup

Forwards

Patrick Maroon Connor McDavid Leon Draisaitl
Milan Lucic Ryan Nugent-Hopkins Jordan Eberle
Anton Slepyshev David Desharnais Zach Kassian
Matt Hendricks Mark Letestu Jujhar Khaira

Defensemen

Oscar Klefbom Adam Larsson
Andrej Sekera Kris Russell
Darnell Nurse Eric Gryba

Power Play Units

PP1 – Lucic, Letestu, Draisaitl, Klefbom, McDavid

PP2 – Maroon, Nugent-Hopkins, Eberle, Russell, Sekera

Keys to the Game:

Slow Down McDavid Line

The Edmonton Oilers are well on their way to a playoff berth, mostly on the backs of their top line of Maroon/McDavid/Draisaitl. If you want to beat Edmonton it has to start with doing everything you can to keep this line off the scoresheet. It will be interesting to see how both coaches work this matchup. Blashill generally is not a proponent of playing the line matching game but my gut is telling me that his preference would be to have the Helm line (presuming they stay as a line) with Larkin and Abdelkader on the ice against McDavid’s line as often as he can in order to negate as much of speed advantage McDavid and Draisaitl typically enjoy as possible.

Start Fast, Play Fast

It seems like it is said every game but it continues to bare repeating, this version of the Red Wings play better when they are pushing the pace of play up, especially when transitioning from defense to offense. They simply are a better team creating off the rush and pushing the pace than they are when they slow things down and try to play a low event possession style. While Edmonton prefers to play up tempo as well, especially with the McDavid line, the Red Wings have found success this season using their speed to slow down and frustrate teams that want to play fast, most notably Pittsburgh.

Stay Calm and Avoid Turnovers

This has been a major issue for the Red Wings all season and it was the main culprit in their loss last night in Calgary. Typically the turnovers comes when a player gets caught trying to do too much instead of staying calm and making the simple play. That is often a sign of a team pressing too hard and trying to force a play. Turning the puck over in your own zone is never a good idea, but when you are facing a team with the level of offensively talented forwards that Edmonton has it is a recipe for a long night of fishing pucks out of your own net.