The Central Division-leading Red Wings have lost four straight decisions, posting an 0-2-2 mark during that stretch. It's the longest skid for Detroit since a four-game slide from Feb. 3-11 of last season.
However, Detroit is hoping it can continue this season's dominance of the Oilers tonight in the Motor City. The Red Wings have won all three encounters with Edmonton this year and have outscored the Oilers by a combined 14-6 score in those tests.
The Wings have taken four straight and eight of 11 overall from Edmonton, while the Oilers have lost two in a row and four of their last five in Motown.
Detroit has also lost its last three tilts at Joe Louis Arena and all three setbacks have come in regulation. The Red Wings, who are 17-11-4 as the host this year, last lost four in a row on home ice from Nov. 18-27, 2009. Detroit hasn't been dealt four consecutive regulation losses at the Joe since Feb. 7-29, 2008.
The Red Wings enter tonight with a five-point lead over Chicago for the division lead. Detroit is also one point in front of San Jose for the second seed in the Western Conference.
Detroit's most recent loss came Wednesday night against the visiting Los Angeles Kings. Jonathan Quickmade 28 saves to help LA secure the 2-1 victory.
Darren Helm scored the lone goal for the Red Wings and Jimmy Howard made 24 stops in the loss.
"We're not creating enough chances and not getting enough traffic in front of the net," said Detroit defensemanNiklas Kronwall. "We have to start getting the pucks in deep and putting more pressure on the defenders."
The Red Wings are hoping to get a boost from the return of defenseman Brian Rafalski tonight. Rafalski has sat out the last six games with back spasms, but has been practicing with the team and could be available for tonight's tilt.
Detroit backup goaltender Chris Osgood is also nearing his return from sports hernia surgery and there is a possibility he could be activated from injured reserve before tonight's game. Osgood last played on Jan. 4, when he recorded the win against the Oilers.
Edmonton is still last in the NHL standings and is coming off consecutive lopsided losses. The Oilers were dealt a 4-1 setback Tuesday in Philadelphia and were slammed by Washington the following night by a 5-0 score.
The Oilers are 1-2-0 on a five-game road trip that is set to end Sunday in Pittsburgh. Tom Renney's club is just 11-18-4 as the visiting team on the season.
Edmonton was shut out by rookie goaltender Braden Holtby on Wednesday, as Washington's 21-year-old backstop recorded his first career shutout with 22 saves.
Nikolai Khabibulin allowed all five goals on 36 shots for Edmonton.
Edmonton forward Gilbert Brule has sat out the last three games with flu-like symptoms and is questionable for tonight's contest. Fellow forward Sam Gagner, meanwhile, is expected to miss the rest of the season due to a lacerated left hand suffered in the loss to Washington.