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Oilers kick off five-game trip vs. resurgent Red Wings

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The Detroit Red Wings began a four-game homestand with a stirring victory over the Vegas Golden Knights on Sunday, one night after winning in overtime at Buffalo.

That wasn’t even the most positive development for the improving Wings. Team captain Dylan Larkin returned to action after a three-game absence against the Golden Knights.

He didn’t record a point in the 5-2 win, but his presence on the ice made the Red Wings, who will host Edmonton on Tuesday night, feel whole again.

“Dylan is a big piece of who we are, and the guys care about each other, care about him,” Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill said. “It was good from their perspective to have him back, and it was for him, too.”

The Red Wings delivered an inspired performance, taking a 3-1 lead in the first period and holding on behind a 38-save outing by Thomas Greiss.

“I just don’t know in this league if you can win on a consistent basis unless you get good goaltending,” Blashill said. “We need the same. We were able to build the lead, and he was able to shut the door in the third.”

The club was vague about Larkin’s absence, but the center offered some clarity after the game.

“It was a tough week personally, and I had to be at home for a family emergency,” he said. “I had to be with my family. It’s a private matter, and I hope everyone can really respect myself and my family’s privacy during this tough time.”

Larkin’s linemates have carried the offense. Tyler Bertuzzi had three goals and three assists over the weekend, increasing his team-high point total to 15 despite appearing in only 10 games. Bertuzzi is the team’s only unvaccinated player and is ineligible to play in Canada.

Rookie Lucas Raymond scored his sixth goal on Sunday. He’s right behind Bertuzzi with 14 points in 13 games, while Larkin has eight points in nine games.

The Oilers have stormed through their first 10 games, going 9-1-0. They’ll also be well-rested for Tuesday’s contest. They haven’t played since a 6-5 overtime victory over the New York Rangers on Friday.

The visit to Detroit begins a five-game trip. Coach Dave Tippett revealed some bad news on Sunday, as forward Devin Shore will miss the next four to six weeks with a lower-body injury.

The hockey world is still buzzing about Connor McDavid’s third-period goal against the Rangers in which he weaved through four defenders.

“It was a nice goal. I’ve scored some nice ones in my career, and that’s up there with a few of them,” he said. “I thought just the timing of it with the crowd, the night and all that, it definitely felt a bit bigger than just a game in November. It was a nice goal, but I’ve scored some nice ones.”

The combination of McDavid and Leon Draisaitl continues to confound defenses. Draisaitl leads the league with 23 points (10 goals), with McDavid just behind him at 22 points.

According to forward Zach Hyman, the Oilers haven’t even played near their peak level.

“Just finding ways to win. I don’t think we’ve played our best hockey yet,” he said. “We haven’t really played a consistent 60 minutes, and we’re always pushing to find a way to win. That’s what good teams do.”

–Field Level Media

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