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Edmonton - Minnesota post-game: Backstrom + Nolan = Death

Well that wasn't much to write home about. A decent effort from the Oilers, but for the first time in a dozen games they were held to under 2 goals, wasting a pretty good game from Jeff Deslauriers in the process. Even though they have lit the guy up here in Edmonton a couple of times, Oilers can't score on Niklas Backstrom in Minny. Tonight was more of the same with Backstrom stopping 30 of 31 shots, while another Oiler-killer of long standing, Owen Nolan, notched the winner.

Oilers had the better of the shot clock but gave up far too many odd-man rushes for my liking. The minus machines known as Shawn Horcoff and Patrick O'Sullivan played OK by eye, but were on the ice for all three Minny goals. These guys are just getting killed out there these days, especially when playing together. O'Sullivan was unlucky not to be awarded a penalty shot when slashed on a clear cut breakaway in the third; bad luck seems to be the only kind the former Wild draft pick seems to get.

The Wild have now won the last 11 straight games between the two clubs at the Excel Energy Centre.

A few stats after the jump:

Faceoffs (3 or more)

Penner 2/3 = 67%
Gagner 7/11 = 64%
Stortini 3/8 = 38%
Potulny 5/14 = 36%
Brule 1/5 = 20%
O'Sullivan 1/9 = 11%

Oilers 20/53 = 38%

POS is not the guy to take the extra load while Horcoff's shoulder heals. His seasonal faceoff stats now stand at 58/159 = 36.5%. By way of comparison, Andrew Cogliano stands at 40.1%.

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Corsi by line (listed in order of EV TOI)

Penner +12, Brule +8, Potulny +7
Gagner +2, Cogliano -1, Moreau -4
Horcoff -8, O'Sullivan -10, Jacques -13
Nilsson +4, Stortini +3, Stone +2

Souray +9, Gilbert +9
Visnovsky +3, Smid -3
Grebeshkov -4, Staios -12

Oilers +1

The Horcoff line may have played OK by eye, but the stats tell a different story. These guys are getting owned out there.  I know a good deal of it is matchups, but the whole point of a shutdown line is to, you know, shut the other guys down.

* * *

Next up: at Vancouver, 20:00 MST Saturday (Boxing Day)

Not much of a Christmas break for the boys, the minimum time off with a road trip at either end.

Happy holidays, everyone!