After losing two of three games on a West Coast road trip coming out of their bye week, the Edmonton Oilers return home for one game against the Detroit Red Wings on Tuesday night.
It’s a quick pit stop for the Oilers, who then depart on another three-game trip against Central Division teams St. Louis, Dallas and Arizona.
The Oilers brought a franchise-record 16-game win streak into last week’s trip, one off the all-time NHL record. That was snapped with a 3-1 loss at the defending Stanley Cup champion Vegas Golden Knights.
Edmonton bounced back with a 5-3 victory at Anaheim behind a hat trick by Evander Kane before getting shut out for second time this season, 4-0 at Los Angeles on Saturday.
Oilers coach Kris Knoblauch wasn’t going to push the panic button following the 1-2-0 road trip.
“I think our first game against Vegas was probably our best game,” Knoblauch said. “We won the second game and then (Saturday), it was probably a game we were finding ways to win during that (winning) streak and wasn’t good enough.
“A lot of credit to L.A. and how they played, and their goaltender played really well.”
Edmonton’s normally potent power play finished 0-for-4 at Los Angeles while the Kings converted one of their two chances with the extra man.
“During the winning streak, the special teams battle, we always came out on top or at least tied,” Knoblauch said. “I think there was a stretch since mid-December that we went through that through that whole time without losing that special teams battle. And (Saturday) we lost it. And that just makes it harder to win games when that happens.”
“I don’t think it was a lack of effort or anything like that,” forward Zach Hyman said. “No excuses. I think that we are playing the right way. I think (Saturday) they were a bit better.”
Detroit is beginning a four-game road trip that also includes stops at Pacific Division-leading Vancouver, Calgary and Seattle.
The Red Wings are tied with Toronto for fourth in the Atlantic Division with 60 points, four points above the New York Islanders for the second wild card in the Eastern Conference. Detroit has won three of its past four games, including a 4-3 overtime win Saturday over the visiting Canucks.
Defenseman Jake Walman scored on a penalty shot 23 seconds into overtime to win it after the Red Wings overcame a 3-1 third-period deficit. Detroit improved to 7-13-2 when trailing after two periods.
“That’s a crazy amount of third-period comebacks to get points and wins,” Red Wings coach Derek Lalonde said. “It’s a good group but not a recipe for success. You don’t want to continue to put yourself in those situations, especially against elite teams like (Vancouver).”
The 16 points generated by the third-period comebacks are a major reason, however, that Detroit finds itself in the thick of the playoff hunt.
“This is going to be a battle for us,” Lalonde said. “If we are fortunate to go over that line, it’s probably going to be Game 82, probably fighting for every point we can. To get there you got to have some believability, and wins like this help.”
–Field Level Media
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