The late game of the NHL tonight has the Red Wings traveling
into the tundra of Canada to face the Oilers. Detroit has been a powerhouse all
season, and is holding onto the top spot in the Western Conference by four
points heading into tonight's game in Edmonton.
The Oilers on the other hand are buried in the bottom of the
West, with only 45 points.
With an exception of a 7-2 beat down by the hands of the
Canadiens this past week, the Detroit Red Wings have won nine of their last ten,
although most have been very close games. Two of the wins were in overtime,
while five of them went to a shootout; including their game against the Vancouver Canucks this past Thursday. Will the Oilers be able to capitalize on their nice 8-4
victory over Chicago on Thursday and pull off the upset?
Detroit has not only been one of the best teams in the NHL
this season, they also have been one of the most consistent teams. However,
tonight they will be without their goalie Jimmy Howard, who has an injured
hand. This will be a tough test for the Wings without Howard. The Oilers are
14-8-3 at home this season, while the Wings have been only a .500 team on the
road. Combined with their starting goalie not being in the net tonight, this
will hamper Detroit big time.
Cleaning up the Oiler spill
Edmonton has gone 3-0-1 in their last four games and have
looked as if a late season surge could bring them out of the depths of the
West. Two of those wins were against Vancouver and San Jose, who are currently
first place teams. They also have been putting the puck in the net more then
they were. In their last ten games, Edmonton has scored 15 goals. The Wings
have dominated the Oilers on the defensive end in their series. However,
without Howard, that trend will be tough to continue against the surging
The Sharp Pick
With back up Ty Conklin in the net for the Red Wings
tonight, Detroit will have to rely on their offense if they are going to escape
Canada with a win. Conklin is 4-2-0 against the Oilers; however, Edmonton has
averaged over 3 goals-against him during that stretch. Even though Detroit has
won their last three meetings and seven of their last ten, the Oilers have only
lost by one goal in two of the previous three losses. The most recent of those was
back in December in Edmonton, where the Wings escaped 3-2.
Seeing as this game is a home game for the Oilers, and the
fact that Detroit will be without their starting goalie, I see the Oilers
taking advantage and continuing their hot streak. They will at the very least
keep it close and could even skate away with a victory at home so back them on the puckline in your NHL picks for today.
My Pick: Oilers +1.5