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Red Wings-Oilers Preview

Wednesday, 08.06.2014 / 4:48 AM

Associated Press

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Red Wings-Oilers Preview
Detroit Red Wings vs. Edmonton Oilers

Behind left wing Ryan Smyth and goaltender Dwayne Roloson, the Edmonton Oilers have built one of the strongest home-ice advantages in the league.

The Oilers look to continue their dominance at Rexall Place as their season-high, seven-game homestand continues Saturday against the Detroit Red Wings.

After tying for the eighth-worst home record at 20-15-6 last season, Edmonton is 7-2 at home this season, outscoring opponents 34-19 in those games.

The Oilers (10-8-1) opened their long homestand with a 6-2 victory Thursday over St. Louis as Smyth scored two goals and Roloson made 25 saves.

Smyth, who had to be helped off the ice after a knee-on-knee hit Monday with Avalanche defenseman John-Michael Liles, has consecutive two-goal games, and three multigoal games in his last four.

"I'm having a little luck here and there," said Smyth, who has a team-high 14 goals. "The guy upstairs is watching over me I guess. Sometimes when you hover around the net good things happen and they have been going in for me right now."

Smyth, a 12-year veteran who has spent his entire career with the Oilers, had a career-high 39 goals his first full season in the league in 1996-97, and finished with 36 last season.

"Some things in this life are beyond explanation," Oilers coach Craig MacTavish said of Smyth. "How he continues to be as productive as he is, that's a testament to his willingness and his biggest aspect, his persistence. He'll go in there and you can't get him out of there."

Eight of Smyth's goals have come at Rexall Place, and he has matched a career high set from April 3-11, 1997, by scoring in four straight home games.

While Smyth is powering Edmonton's offense, Roloson has been steady in net for the Oilers.

Roloson is 6-2 with a 2.14 goals-against average and one shutout at home, and stopped 26 shots in Edmonton's 3-1 home victory Oct. 21 over the Red Wings (12-5-1).

The Oilers have split their two games with Detroit this season after eliminating the top-seeded Red Wings from the first round of last season's playoffs in six games.

Detroit had a season-high nine-game winning streak end Friday after losing 4-1 at Calgary.

Dan Cleary's goal with 41 seconds left prevented the Red Wings from suffering their first shutout since a 3-0 loss to Boston on Jan. 7, 2004.

"One team was a lot more competitive than the other team tonight and the team that was most competitive won, no question," Detroit coach Mike Babcock said. "They were way more physical, they were more competitive, and they won all the battles. It's a pretty simple game - the team that wins the most battles usually wins the game and they won way more battles tonight."

Cleary has scored all five of his goals this season in the last five games, including one in Detroit's 3-0 win Nov. 8 over Edmonton.

Dominik Hasek made 24 saves to record his second shutout of the season against the Oilers last week, and is 7-5 with three ties, two shutouts and a 2.36 GAA in his career against them.

Hasek saw his seven-game winning streak come to an end with Friday's loss, but is still 9-4-1 with three shutouts and a 1.92 GAA - tops among all goalies that have started at least four games.

2006-2007 season series
DateScoreW. Goal
Feb 23 '07 EDM 4 at DET 3 - SO R. Smyth
Nov 18 '06 DET 3 at EDM 4 - SO R. Torres
Nov 08 '06 EDM 0 at DET 3 D. Cleary
Oct 21 '06 DET 1 at EDM 3 P. Sykora

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