Following their heartbreaking 5-4 loss in overtime against St. Louis, the Red Wings have their sights set on ending their eight-game losing streak at home against the Edmonton Oilers. Sunday night’s defeat against the reigning Stanley Cup champions had to feel very frustrating after the Red Wings rallied to score three straight goals in the third to take the lead, only to have the Blues tie the game late in the third and eventually score the game-winning goal in extra time.

The Red Wings’ schedule is also not about to let up either, as five of their next six opponents (including the Oilers) currently own a winning record. So unfortunately for the Red Wings, these losses are likely to continue unless their play drastically changes against the Oilers tonight.

Projected Lineup

Detroit Red Wings

Filip Hronek
Patrik Nemeth
Joe Hicketts
Mike Green
Dennis Cholowski
Trevor Daley

In an effort to promote secondary scoring, head coach Jeff Blashill has decided to bump forward Anthony Mantha down to the second line. Forwards Valtteri Filppula and Andreas Athanasiou have combined to produce a total of just one goal so far this season. So, Blashill is hoping his team’s leading goal scorer will be able to spark at least a little production out of his second line.

As a result of Mantha moving to the second line, forward Darren Helm has been promoted to the Red Wings’ top line. This means Helm will be receiving a considerable increase with his ice time during this game against the Oilers. So far this season, Helm has been averaging 12:18 minutes of TOI through 12 games and it wouldn’t be surprising for Helm to receive somewhere around 14 minutes of ice time in tonight’s game.

Edmonton Oilers

Darnell Nurse
Ethan Bear
Oscar Klefbom
Kris Russell
Brandon Manning
Matt Benning

While the Oilers aren’t making any lineup changes from their 6-2 blowout loss against the Panthers this past Sunday, head coach Dave Tippett should probably consider making a few adjustments to his bottom-six forwards. Currently, the Oilers’ third and fourth lines have combined to create just a pair of assists from Tomas Jurco.

However, there isn’t anyone on the Oilers’ current roster that deserves to receive regular playing time. So, unless former Red Wings’ general manager Ken Holland is planning on recalling a few of the Oilers’ top prospects, then his team will have to continue to rely on its first two lines to create their offensive production.

Three Thoughts

1.) Redemption in the Faceoff Dot 

During their defeat against the Blues, the Red Wings recorded a troublesome 42% FOW percentage through 60 minutes. While the Red Wings were playing against the third-best faceoff winning team in the league, their squad will need to perform much better in the faceoff circle if they’re going to put an end to this current losing streak.

Overall, the Red Wings currently own the fourth-worst FOW% (46.8%) throughout the entire league. However, the Red Wings will have a chance to redeem themselves against the Oilers in Little Caesars Arena tonight. With the Oilers owning the 12th worst FOW% (48.7%) in the league, the Red Wings should be able to slightly improve their success rate in the faceoff dot, especially on the powerplay where their team has lost the most number of faceoffs (48) in the league.

2.) Need for Improved Discipline

Through 12 games this season, the Red Wings have averaged 8:45 penalty minutes/game, which currently ranks 13th-most in the league. The Red Wings also own the third-worst success rate on the penalty kill (69.2%) throughout the league. During this game, the Red Wings will be going up against the best powerplay unit in the entire league.

Entering tonight’s game, the Oilers own a league-best 33.3% conversion rate with the man-advantage this season. The Oilers have also produced a 35.3% success rate with their powerplay unit while on the road, which sits fifth-best in the entire league. So, the Red Wings will need to avoid taking any unnecessary penalties in this game, or they may be out of this game before the start of the third period.

3.) Recent Scoring Drought

Coming into tonight’s game, the Oilers have been held to two goals or fewer in five of their last seven games. The Oilers have also encountered a similar issue that the Red Wings have been facing so far this season. Aside from Leon Draisaitl, Connor McDavid and James Neal, the Oilers haven’t been able to find consistent scoring from their depth.

Second-line forwards Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Alex Chiasson have combined to score just a single goal to begin the 2019-20 season. If the Red Wings can once again limit the Oilers’ top-line from scoring, then they just may be able to prevail against the Pacific division-leading Oilers.