Now, let me speak to you about watching this team, alcohol and collecting money. It's a simple technique designed both to curb alcoholism in our communities and draw us together when the time is right. Every time the Oilers lose a game, each one you must set aside the exact amount of money you spent on alcohol into a separate fund. If you spend ten dollars on beer, then set aside ten. If five dollars, move five. If twenty, then twenty, each according to his means. By doing so, we will be encouraged to drink less and be forced to save more. That way, when the playoffs finally come you will not need to take an unexpected collection in order to fly to Detroit or San Jose or Minnesota. Instead, you will go and find enough money in your "staying sober" fund, and this depraved team will have left you an unexpected gift! And of course, if it seems advisable to bring a friend, I can be wonderful company.
Minnesota Wild (37-35-7) @ Edmonton Oilers (24-46-8)
Rexall Place, 7:30 P.M. MDT
More analysis after the jump...
Visiting Team Scouting Report:
The Wild needed a huge run to end the season to qualify for the playoffs but haven't been able to put it together. Since beating the Oilers on March 16th, the Wild have a record of 3-6-1 and have been mathematically eliminated from the playoffs. At 13th place in the Western Conference, you'd think they would be in line for a great draft pick but right now they're actually sitting 22nd overall which would give them the 9th overall pick (unless they manage to pull out a lottery win). The Wild would almost certainly be a playoff team in the Eastern Conference. The 8th seed there has 84 points to Minnesota's 81, but Minnesota also had to play a Western Conference (i.e. harder) schedule. I think R.J. Umberger sums up the difference between the Conferences when he's willing to say this about the Washington Capitals:
"I don’t think any team in the West would be overmatched by them. They play the wrong way. They want to be moving all the time. They float around in their zone, looking for breakaways and odd-man rushes."
Now, I don't know if this is exactly true of the Capitals but when you have the 14th place team in the West talking smack about the best team in the East and it's not completely unreasonable, well, that's all you need to know right there. Neither the Blue Jackets or Wild are better than the Capitals but they're both a lock to be better teams than whoever the Capitals' play in the first round.
Edmonton Oilers (24-46-8):
Moreau - Horcoff - Pisani
Penner - Potulny - Cogliano
Nilsson - Pouliot - O'Sullivan
Jones - Comrie - Stortini
Gilbert - Whitney
Strudwick - Chorney
Johnson - Arsene
Minnesota Wild (37-35-7)
Brunette - Koivu - Miettinen
Latendresse - Brodziak - Havlat
Nolan - Wellman - Clutterbuck
Boogaard - Almond - Kobasew
Zanon - Zidlicky
Burns - Barker
Scott - Schultz
Behind the Numbers:
- Ignoring the lockout season of 1994-95 the Oilers have never accumulated less than the 60 points they managed in 1992-93. With
5556 points on the board and only seven six fivefour games to go it's looking more and more like a new franchise record will be set. The lowest point total since the lockout belongs to the 2006-07 Philadelphia Flyers who earned 56 points in their 82 games. But I figure twoone point sin the next seven six fivefour games should be something the Oilers can accomplish.
- In March the Minnesota Wild signed Casey Wellman to a two-year entry-level contract at 1.35M per season. He's burning off the first year right now playing in the NHL (Jeff Petry would do the same if he were called up which is one of the reasons he won't be seeing Edmonton) and he'll be an unrestricted free agent after next season. Damn. Not sure it's worth developing that kid. The Wild also signed defender Nate Prosser to a one-year entry-level deal which he's playing off right now. He'll at least be an RFA.
- Martin Havlat was brought in to Minnesota in the off-season to help replace Marian Gaborik. Gaborik has appeared in 72 games so far this season, has scored 41 goals, 83 points and is a +14. Havlat has also played 72 games but only has 18 goals and 54 points to go along with a -17. That's a pretty big downgrade, probably bigger than the Wild were counting on, and one of the big reasons Minnesota isn't going to make the playoffs.
- After Jacques Lemaire left the team the Wild talked about playing a new more exciting style. It's surprising, then, that the Wild have actually improved in the "shots against" department from last season. They allowed 30.7 shots against per game last year compared to 29.4 this year. The shots for are almost even with last season, up only 0.2 shots per game from 27.5 to 27.7.
- Charles Linglet's NHL debut was not overly successful. His shot rate was -33.6/60 and his Corsi rate was -39.26/60 to go along with a tidy -2 at EV. He also hasn't looked particularly good by eye. It's only two games and he admitted to being nervous in the first one but early returns do not suggest a Peverley-esque find by the Oilers.