Time: 9:00 PM EST
Place: Rogers Place
TV: NBCSN, Sportsnet 1, SN-E, SN-O, SN-P
Radio: 97.1 FM The Ticket/1270 AM
Well Red Wings fans, it’s almost over. Well, the first half of the season that is. The Wings have dropped 18 of their last 24, include back-to-back games in which they’ve had 3rd Period leads now on this West Coast trip. While the young guys, led by Dylan Larkin, are producing and have given us a few bright spots here and there, things are just getting worse and worse in Detroit. Thanks to the Kings’ win yesterday, Detroit sits in 1st place for the #LoseForHughes campaign, and sadly at this point, that is what I’m really starting to cheer for. They’ll head into the All-Star Break after facing an Edmonton team that has had a disappointing first half of their own.
Connor McDavid. Ok, now that we have gone over all of the positives for the Oilers this season, let’s jump into everything else. The Oilers have now lost 12 of their past 18 since Oscar Klefbom’s injury, but still remain just 3 points out of the final playoff spot in the West. Ken Hitchcock took over behind the bench on November 20, and the team has gone 14-13-2 since then. Now on to the bright spot, imagine where this Oilers team would be without #97? I really don’t even like arguing it anymore, because McDavid is by far the best player in the game today. He now has 72 points in 48 games, which has him on pace for his 3rd-straight career high season, this time at 123. It has to be frustrating for McDavid, who also has 14 points in 10 games in January, that the Oilers still aren’t good yet. Which means for the Red Wings tonight it’s pretty simple, stop McDavid (which, uh, is not easy) and you stop the Oilers.
Injuries: Both Oscar Klefbom (Hand) and Alex Petrovic (Concussion) have been skating this week as they return from injuries. Kelfbom, especially, has been a huge blow to the Oilers as he had been averaging 25+ minutes a game this year. Petrovic, another D, played in just 5 games for the Oilers, after being acquired from Florida in a trade, before suffering a concussion. Both are expected back after the break.