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Red Wings-Oilers: Game Day Updates/Key Matchups

Detroit Red WIngs v Edmonton Oilers Photo by Codie McLachlan/Getty Images

Game Day Updates

Important stuff first

Key Matchups

1. Who’s that one player Edmonton has?

Everyone has heard the cliche “You can’t stop (insert player), you can only contain him,” and I’m not sure I’ve ever found that statement more true than with Connor McDavid. 72 points in 48 games is absurd, and oh yeah, HE JUST TURNED 22 JANUARY 13. The dude is a machine and I truthfully think he is well on his way to being a Top 3 player of all time. Of his 48 games this year, he has been held pointless just 4 times. That is absolutely insane. Enough drooling over him, but holy smokes if the Red Wings can’t “contain him” then this could be a long night. I don’t care who he plays against, even holding the guy to just 1-point can be categorized as a win. Make sure you keep an eye on #97 all night.

2. Nurse-Russell vs. Red Wings Youth

Despite the long-term struggles for the Red Wings, short-term the young guys have had success. Larkin, Mantha and Bertuzzi have combined for 15 points over the last 4 games. With Klefbom still out for Edmonton, Kris Russell continues to play top pair minutes with Darnell Nurse, and while Russell has been +8 this year, which leads the team, he still isn’t Klefbom. The kids should be able to keep producing, no matter who is matched up against Edmonton’s top pair, but if they don’t, the Red Wings will hit the break on a three-game losing streak.

3. Secondary Scoring

We obviously know about McDavid, and everyone knows how good Larkin, Mantha and Bertuzzi have been. But with both teams struggling defensively, it’s fair to expect their best players to be their best players. It’ll probably come down to the teams secondary scoring. The Oilers lead that department thanks to Leon Draisaitl who has 59 points in 49 games, and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, who has 46 points in 49 games. After those 3 for the Red Wings, it really kind of falls off. Vanek and Nielsen both had good games in Vancouver, but Athanasiou is a big one for Detroit and he has just 1 point his last 5 games. If Draisaitl and RNH are able to produce with McDavid, this could be another tough one for the Wings.