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Oilers @ Wild Game 62 Preview

Can the Oilers defeat the Wild one time this season? Can they score a goal on Devan Dubnyk?

Steve Alkok-USA TODAY Sports

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17-34-10, 44 points, .734 p/g Ranks 31-21-7, 69 points, 1.17 p/g
Western Conference - 14th Western Conference - 7th
29th P/G 14th
27th ST 4th
28th ES 14th
29th Goal 12th
Xcel Energy Center
The opposing view: Hockey Wilderness

Twenty Games To Go

The Oilers lost a close one to the Anaheim Ducks on Saturday night by a score of 2-1.  The win was Anaheim's 37th on the year, they're hot on the heels of the Nashville Predators for first place in the Western Conference.  The loss was Edmonton's 44th on the year (34th in regulation).  By the end of the year, the Oilers will have sustained an incredible 50 losses.  Normally this is something that would bring shame onto a club, but hey, this outfit's been doing it every full season since 2009-10.  At least Pat Quinn didn't have the benefit of three first overall picks when this storm started.

It's red-hot Minnesota once again tonight, and your good buddy Devan Dubnyk will be starting for the Wild.  Let's see who saying what.

The Oilers are saying

"He was a lot of fun to play for.  Going in there, everybody told us how fun he was and everybody loved playing for him.  We kind of knew that going in.  He made things easy for us and tried to be as good to us as he could. We had a lot of fun playing down there and I actually look back on that with a lot of good memories for sure."

That's Ryan Nugent-Hopkins on his time in Oklahoma City with coach Todd Nelson during the last NHL lockout.

I have absolutely no future information that suggests that the Oilers are going to keep Todd Nelson around and make him the permanent head coach, but I think I know this team, and think that this sounds like some serious framework being laid.  I do think it's important that the players respect their coach, and I think it's nice if they actually like playing for their coach.  I like some of the things I've seen with Todd Nelson, and I don't feel completely hopeless when he's behind the bench.  Heck, I like what I've seen with Nail Yakupov and Derek Roy since he's been at the helm.  My only fear is that they lock him down to a multi-year deal without at least looking at all of the other coaches once the season's done.  Since Nelson has been behind the bench, he's 10-15-5, which is...a number.  When Eakins got the axe, he was 7-19-5.  This isn't an indictment of Todd Nelson, rather a caution to keep your damn eyes open and not latch onto the guy as soon as the season ends.  Browse!  Look around!  Kick some tires!  It's okay!

The Opponent is saying

"I think our backs are still against the wall.  It's a logjam in the Western Conference...It's nice to be in the top eight, but 69 points is not going to get you into the playoffs"

Mike Yeo is a smart man, fully realizing that sixty nine points isn't good enough to make it into the playoffs.  This isn't Brian Bellows' North Stars, no sir.  Minnesota's been hot, really hot, going 13-2-3 since January 15th.  They're holding down the last wild-card spot in the Western Conference, with Calgary just one point behind.

Have some of this

  • NO NAIL - Just when things really start to look like they're turning around for Nail Yakupov, he'll be out of tonight's game with groin injury.  Yakupov has eight points (4-4-8) in his last eight games.
  • Jeff Petry will be back after missing the last two games (ribs).  Keith Aulie and Jordan Oesterle will be out.  There's one week left until the trade deadline.  Nick Leddy just signed a seven year deal to remain on Long Island.  Craig's on it.
  • 20 games remain in this season.  How many do the Oilers win?  I've got them in for 5.
  • Expect Ben Scrivens (11-19-7, .895SV%, / 2.99) to get the start against Devan Dubnyk (22-7-3, .925SV% /  2.19).  Anyone taking odds on Dubnyk winning the Masterton trophy this year?