Time: 7:00 PM EST
Place: Little Caesars Arena
How to Watch: ESPN+, Hulu
Radio: WXYT-97.1 FM
Oilers Blog: Copper and Blue
The Red Wings emerge from their extended all-star break to take on the Edmonton Oilers. Leading into the week off the Oilers were on fire at 7-1-2 and scoring in bunches. The Wings are counting on some rust accumulating for McDavid and the Oilers because Detroit simply can’t score at that pace.
With the team largely back to full health, Lalonde will see if he can develop some chemistry among the lines with this mid-season jumpstart and get the offense rolling along at a better clip. One player very looking to hit reset after the break is Tyler Bertuzzi. Following a few hand injuries blocking shots, he has 1 point in 8 games after his latest return in January. Whether Yzerman elects to re-up Bert or move him at the deadline, it would be in everyone’s best interest if he starts producing like he’s proven capable of in the past. In practice this week he was reunited with Larkin and Raymond which should offer him plenty of opportunity to get rolling.
Another player looking to put the first half of the season behind them will be Filip Zadina, another victim of injury. However while he’s returned to the roster following a conditioning stint in Grand Rapids, he looks to be the healthy scratch tonight barring any late changes. He will get his opportunity soon enough, but it could be one of his last chances to take hold of a steady roster spot.
Another name to look for hoping to change his narrative on the season will be Andrew Copp, the marquee offseason acquisition. Currently on pace for less than 50 points, the hope was Copp could provide scoring as the second line center behind Larkin, producing somewhere north of 60 points. Following off-season core surgery he looked to be rounding into form in late November and early December, but has fallen off again with 6 points through 13 games since the calendar rolled over. He’ll be playing on a big boy’s line with Rasmussen and Perron.
The Oilers on the other hand will be trying to pick up where they left off. Larkin’s former Michigan teammate, Zach Hyman, has 13 points in his last 5 games. McDavid continues to be in a tier by himself, ahead of the next league leading scorer, his teammate Draisaitl, by 16 points. If the Wings hold him to even two points tonight they can call that a moral victory.
The Oilers boast four skaters who have cracked 60 points already this season: McDavid, Draisaitl, Hyman, and Nugent-Hopkins. By comparison, Larkin leads Detroit by a healthy margin with 43 points.
In goal for Detroit, the team is counting on rest doing the body good for Husso. He is likely still adapting to the full workload in Detroit that he simply hasn’t seen to this point in his NHL career, previously sharing the net with Binnington in St. Louis. For Edmonton, Stuart Skinner is expected to start as offseason signing Jack Campbell continues to search for his game. Skinner has sported a 2.92 GAA and .914 SV% through 28 games this season. But the young netminder has given up 3 or more goals in 4 of his last 5 starts since the beginning of January. Husso performing to the top of his abilities, and Detroit scoring a soft one or two on the Edmonton goaltender could be Detroit’s best shot at winning tonight.