Better to be poor and exciting
than to be mediocre and deathly boring.
A young team that understands its talent level is wise.
a Wild team with no understanding
brings shame to all of its fans.
If a city increases taxes and subsidies
it will be to line the pockets of rich friends.
Minnesota Wild (37-35-8) @ Edmonton Oilers (24-43-11)
Rexall Place, 7:00 p.m. MDT
Television: Sportsnet West
More analysis after the jump...
As your Copper and Blue "farm" reporter, it would be criminal not to mention a game going on this evening between the Oklahoma City Barons and the San Antonio Rampage. As I stated a few days ago, the Barons can secure a playoff spot in their first season by winning the last three games of the season and that journey begins tonight with San Antonio, and is followed by Texas and Houston on Saturday and Sunday. Your young, developing, and sometimes forgotten Oiler undergrads are in the thick of a playoff hunt.
So here's the nuts and bolts of tonight's game. When the Barons and Rampage play it's a toss-up. Having met nine times this season, the Rampage own the head-to-head win totals by one. But the piston that gets the Rampage in gear is their power play. Their 21.6% power play percentage is second in the American League, and has been near the top for most of the regular season, so the PK-ers for the Barons will need to be ready to go (Montgomery, Helmer, Plante, Teubert)
Who are the players to watch? Alexandre Giroux and Colin McDonald, of course. Both are Rampage killers. Giroux has played eight games against the Rampage and has averaged a point per game including six goals. McDonald isn't far behind with seven points in nine games played. Deslauriers will get the start over Gerber, and he's gone one for one against San Antonio this season. As for the Rampage, call-ups have hurt them just as they have the Barons (Mikkel Boedker, Brett MacLean, and Andrew Ebbett are all up with the Coyotes), but Mathieu Beaudoin has six points in his last five games, and fifty in sixty games on the season. Look for Matt Climie to get the start in net, and be prepared for him to struggle! His .917 save percentage on the season is pretty good, but he's won just two of six starts against the Barons, and his save percentage is a lowly .902. Ouch.
So flip on AHL Live or tune into 96.1 KXY at 6:00 p.m. MDT, and indulge in a game that actually matters! The Barons push towards an improbable playoff berth in their first season in Oklahoma begins tonight. Let the chant begin: "Win and We're In!" "Win and We're In!" "Win and We're In!"