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Oilers-Red Wings Preview

Tuesday, 04.11.2006 / 7:30 PM

Associated Press

GAME: Edmonton Oilers (39-27-13) at Detroit Red Wings (54-15-8).

TIME: Tuesday, 7:30 p.m. EDT.

The Detroit Red Wings can take a step closer to a record fifth Presidents' Trophy when they meet the Edmonton Oilers at Joe Louis Arena.

The Red Wings have won the award, given annually to the team with the best regular-season record, a league-best four times since its inception 20 years ago. No other team has won the award more than twice.

Detroit, a winner of four straight and six of seven, needs three points to win the trophy and claim home-ice advantage throughout the playoffs.

Despite injuries to leading scorers Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg, the Red Wings stretched their latest winning streak with a 4-2 win Saturday over Columbus, clinching the top seed in the Western Conference for the seventh time in 14 years.

Jason Williams scored the go-ahead goal midway through the second period and backup goaltender Chris Osgood made 13 of his 27 saves in the third.

"We keep it pretty simple on the road," Williams said after collecting his career-high 20th goal. "We don't try to do anything fancy. It's just simple Red Wing hockey."

Datsyuk has been out since suffering a lower body injury last Tuesday in a 2-1 shootout win over Calgary. Zetterberg sat out with an upper body injury during the second period of Detroit's 6-5 shootout win over the Blue Jackets on Friday.

Since being held without a point on March 18 in a 4-3 shootout win over the Oilers, 22-year veteran Steve Yzerman has been on a tear, recording five goals and nine assists during an 11-game points streak.

The Oilers look to rebound from a loss to the worst team in the Western Conference that also put a dent in their playoff hopes.

Edmonton fell 2-1 to St. Louis on Sunday, ending the Blues' franchise-record 13-game losing streak. The Oilers avoided being shut out when Chris Pronger scored in the final minute on a night when the Blues retired Al MacInnis' No. 2.

Pronger and MacInnis formed St. Louis' top defensive pairing for nine seasons from 1995-2004.

Oilers coach Craig MacTavish complained his team has run into a handful of pre-game ceremonies this season.

"The perfect guest again," he said. "I wondered why they were going to pick us to retire Al MacInnis' jersey. There's no excuse for not having everybody ready to play and we end up being the perfect guest for what ends up being a crucial game for us."

The Oilers are in eighth place in the West, two points ahead of ninth-place Vancouver for the conference's final playoff spot. Edmonton trails seventh-place Colorado by one point and is two behind sixth-place San Jose.

After this contest, the Oilers end the regular season with home games against Anaheim and Colorado.

Edmonton needs one win to reach 40 for the first time since 1987-88 when it won the Stanley Cup for the fourth time in five seasons.

STANDINGS: Oilers - 91 points, 3rd place, 7 PB, Northwest Division. Red Wings - 116 points, 1st place, Central Division.

TEAM LEADERS: Oilers - Ryan Smyth, 36 goals; Ales Hemsky, 58 assists and 76 points; Jaroslav Spacek, 96 PIM. Red Wings - Zetterberg and Brendan Shanahan, 36 goals; Nicklas Lidstrom, 61 assists; Datsyuk, 87 points; Chris Chelios, 106 PIM.

SPECIAL TEAMS: Oilers - Power play: 18.6 percent (88 for 472), 9th in NHL. Penalty killing: 83.9 percent (391 for 466), 8th. Red Wings - Power play: 22.7 percent (97 for 428), 1st. Penalty killing: 85.6 percent (370 for 432), 3rd.

GOALTENDERS: Oilers - Dwayne Roloson (13-23-5, 2 SO, 2.79 GAA); Ty Conklin (7-5-1, 1, 2.85). Red Wings - Manny Legace (34-8-3, 6, 2.22); Osgood (19-5-5, 2, 2.68).

SEASON SERIES: Oilers, 2-1.

LAST MEETING: March 18; Red Wings, 4-3 (SO). At Edmonton, Alberta, Williams and Zetterberg scored shootout goals for the Wings. Roloson made 24 saves for the Oilers.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Oilers - 21-12-7 on the road; Red Wings - 25-9-5 at home.

2005-2006 season series
DateScoreW. Goal
Apr 11 '06EDM 0 at DET 2D. MacLean
Mar 18 '06DET 4 at EDM 3 - SOJ. Williams
Nov 17 '05DET 5 at EDM 6 - OTJ. Stoll
Nov 03 '05EDM 4 at DET 3 - OTR. Torres
PlayerGPGAP+/-PIMPPGW
GoalieGPRec.GASAGAASv%
PlayerGPGAP+/-PIMPPGW
GoalieGPRec.GASAGAASv%

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