The skinny: All Detroit. The Wings dominated in Edmonton on Saturday, outshooting the Oilers 31-14 and winning 40 of 62 faceoffs. The first two goals came less than 30 seconds apart: Darren Helm utilizing his speed to pick up a bouncing puck and scoring uncontested, and Tomas Tatar slotting home a rebound (his third goal in as many games). Jakub Kindl scored his first goal of the year on a one-timer in the second period, and Joakim Andersson and Todd Bertuzzi completed the scoring in the third. The Wings blocked 13 shots, and when a shot did manage to get through, Petr Mrazek was there to make the save, and as a result, he earned his first NHL shutout.
Three stars: 3. Petr Mrazek. Mrazek was recalled from Grand Rapids after Jonas Gustavsson was ruled out due to injury, and did not disappoint in his first appearance of the season, stopping all 14 Edmonton shots.
2. Jakub Kindl. Kindl scored his first goal of the season in this one. He was also credited with an assist on Bertuzzi’s goal and blocked a team-high four shots in his 20:07 of ice time.
1. Darren Helm. Welcome back, Darren Helm! The speedy center scored the eventual game-winner on his only shot in his return to the Detroit lineup.
Five things: 1. The penalty kill. The Wings have not allowed a power play goal in the last three games, and their kill percentage now sits at 83.6% on the young season, among the top ten in the league. The last time the Red Wings finished with a top-10 penalty-killing unit was 2010.
2. Daniel Alfredsson. The guy’s been great. Alfie collected two more assists on Saturday, giving him 10 in 15 games this season. He’s on pace for 71 points (55 assists) this season, which would be his highest total since the 2009-10 season. Not bad for a 40 year-old.
3. The Oilers are not very good. I know Taylor Hall and Justin Schultz are absent at the moment, but Dallas Eakins’ troops are a miserable 3-10-2 thus far. Their goaltending is a mess; Devan Dubnyk is off to a poor start and is currently hurt as well. Richard Bachman and Jason LaBarbera split duties in goal on Saturday, and both struggled. Their power play and penalty kill are both bottom-five units. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Nail Yakupov have only five goals between them. The Oilers need to get healthy quick if they want to make a run in a stacked Western Conference, but I suppose a fourth #1 overall pick in five years wouldn’t be so bad.
4. Tied for the division lead. The Bruins, Canadiens, and Maple Leafs all lost Saturday, and the Wings’ victory pulled them into a three-way tie with the Lightning and Leafs for the Atlantic lead. All three teams have 20 points.
5. What’s next? The Wings are back at it Monday night, as they look to complete a sweep of their four-game swing through western Canada; they’ll face the Jets at the MTS Centre. Puck drop is slated for 8:00 PM EST.