SUN Hockey Pool

Hold on tight, fellas!

DEREK VAN DIEST -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:04 AM ET

The Edmonton Oilers just beat the defending Stanley Cup champions.

Now it's on to the best team in the NHL.

Today the Oilers host the Detroit Red Wings, a team that heads into the contest with the best record in the league and the top scorer in Henrik Zetterberg.

'BEST RECORD IN HOCKEY'

"They have the best record in hockey and we know them pretty well," said Oilers head coach Craig MacTavish. "They're pretty dangerous and are capable on both sides of the puck. They only gave up four shots (Sunday) protecting the lead in Vancouver.

"It's all puck possession with them and our game plan will be very similar to what it's been in the past against them. You just try and limit the damage they can cause on their chances, because you know they're going to create chances and you want to push them to the outside as best you can."

Detroit heads into the game off a 3-2 victory over the Vancouver Canucks, extending their winning streak to five games.

They are led by their top line of Zetterberg, Pavel Datsyuk and Tomas Holmstrom, who have combined for 48 points in 12 games this season.

Zetterberg is the league top scorer with nine goals and 12 assists this year.

"You have to try and get the puck and get some offence going against them," MacTavish said. "That's why I like (Tom) Gilbert and (Denis) Grebeshkov against them because they can grab the puck and move it and not turn it over.

"If you do turn it over in a critical position against them you're going to dig it out of your own net. They're a handful."

Gilbert has played well for the Oilers this season and is seeing his ice time increase with every game. He played over 23 minutes in Sunday's 3-2 shootout win over the Anaheim Ducks and created the tying goal by going in on a short-handed rush.

"Gibby's a pretty good offensive defenceman," said Oilers centre Andrew Cogliano, who eventually scored the goal. "He knows that we're looking for a short-handed goal in that situation and he just took the puck hard to the net."

Grebeshkov had arguably his best game of the season against the Ducks. The Yaroslavl, Russia native led the Oilers in ice-time playing nearly 28 minutes. He and Gilbert were the busiest defensive pairing and were on the ice in the short-handed situation late in the game when the Oilers were down a goal.

"The speed up front (Cogliano and Geoff Sanderson) was to try and have a couple of game-breakers up there that if they poked it by they could get the scoring opportunity," MacTavish said. "And the guys on the back end were both making plays. I thought they were both equally stellar (Sunday) night."

Gilbert, 24, leads the Oilers defencemen in scoring this season with two goals and an assist in 12 games. He has the green light to jump into the rush whenever he sees fit, and at times this year, has even led it.

OPPONENT'S CREASE

Despite being a defenceman, it's not uncommon to see Gilbert in the opponent's crease.

"He's got great speed, it's really deceptive speed," MacTavish said."He jumps up on the play at the right time. He's got good game savvy, he knows when to go when the situation calls for it and rarely makes a mistake jumping up into the play. He has the legs to get up there."


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