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Oilers try to end losing streak in Detroit against Red Wings

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The Sports Network
2/9/2013 11:40:26 AM
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(Sports Network) - The Edmonton Oilers have lost five straight games in Detroit and will try to snap that streak this afternoon against the Red Wings.

The Oilers also have a separate four-game losing skid on the season as they visit Joe Louis Arena. Three of those defeats have come after regulation, including Wednesday's 3-2 overtime defeat against the Dallas Stars.

Ales Hemsky had a goal and an assist, while Justin Schultz also lit the lamp for the Oilers. Devan Dubnyk gave up all three goals on 28 shots and Sam Gagner had an assist to give him a goal and three helpers over a 10-game point streak to open the season.

"We have to rectify that problem of not putting teams away," said Hemsky. "I thought we played well tonight and did a lot of good things, but we had chances that we didn't put away and let them get back into the game."

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins did not play against the Stars due to a shoulder injury suffered against the Vancouver Canucks last Monday. He is expected to return for this game, while defenseman Mark Fistric is also nearing a return from a back injury. Forward Ben Eager (concussion) could also suit up for the first time since Jan. 20.

Nugent-Hopkins' return is a boost given that fellow centers Shawn Horcoff (broken knuckle), Eric Belanger (broken toe) and Anton Lander (bruised foot) are all out with injuries. Lander was hurt versus the Stars.

Edmonton is set to play back-to-back games on the road as it visits Columbus on Sunday.

The Red Wings snapped a two-game slide with Thursday's 5-1 victory in St. Louis. Five different Detroit skaters scored and 20-year-old Petr Mrazek made 26 saves to win his NHL debut.

Cory Emmerton had a goal and an assist, while Daniel Cleary, Jakub Kindl, Damien Brunner and Valtteri Filppula also lit the lamp. The effort put Detroit in position to win two straight for the first time since Jan. 29-Feb. 1.

"I thought we got good minutes out of all of our guys tonight," Detroit head coach Mike Babcock said.

Mrazek, meanwhile, was recalled from the minors on Monday to give No. 1 Jimmy Howard his first rest of the season. Howard had started the first nine games of the season, going 4-4-1 with a 3.07 goals against average and .892 save percentage.

Backups Jonas Gustavsson (strained groin) and Joey MacDonald (back) are both battling injury.

The Red Wings also will be without forward Todd Bertuzzi on Saturday, as the veteran is nursing an ailing back. Babcock told reporters Friday that he wasn't certain how much time Bertuzzi would miss, though he was ruled out for the matchup with the Oilers.

Bertuzzi has totaled two goals and one assist with a plus-three rating in seven games this season. The 38-year-old had sat out Detroit's first three contests with flu-like symptoms.

Detroit seems likely to open its residency with at least a point. The Red Wings have won eight of the past nine meetings with the Oilers while gaining a point in 22 of the last 23 encounters (15-1-7).

Nail Yakupov (Photo: Mike Ridewood/Getty Images)

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(Photo: Mike Ridewood/Getty Images)
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