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Preview: Game 59 Oilers vs. Wild

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A win for the Wild could put them in a wild card spot. Can the Oilers help throw a wrench in Minnesota's playoff push?

A long term injury to Eric Gryba brings Nikita Nikitin back to the fold.
A long term injury to Eric Gryba brings Nikita Nikitin back to the fold.
Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports


Minnesota

@

Edmonton
25-22-10, 60 points, 1.12 p/g Ranks 22-30-6, 50 points, .877 p/g
Central Division - 6th Pacific Division - 7th
20th P/G 30th
23rd ST 16th
25th S/G 18th
10th Goal 26th
7PM MDT
TV - Sportsnet West
Radio - 630 CHED
Rexall Place
The opposing view:  Hockey Wilderness

Old Faces Help Propel Ducks To 5-3 Victory Over Oilers

David Perron scored a controversial goal late in the first to kick things off for Anaheim, while Andrew Cogliano's shorthanded goal was the one that helped seal the deal for the Ducks in the third.  The Oilers had a power play goal from Leon Draisaitl, one for Taylor Hall, and Benoit Pouliot scored a power play goal with just about a minute remaining in the third period to cut the Anaheim lead to 4-3.  Corey Perry would score an empty net goal to help seal the deal for the Ducks, who are winners of their last three and eight of their last ten.  The Ducks hold down second place in the Western Conference with 66 points, they trail the Kings for the conference lead by three points.

Minnesota is two points out of a wild-card position.  The Oilers...well, there's Connor McDavid.  Let's go to the tape.

The Oilers are saying

"We'll make some line decisions (for Thursday) when we know who's healthy."

Source

That's Oilers head coach Todd McLellan on the possibility of a line shakeup.

NIKITA NIKITIN IS BACK

One Oiler we know won't be healthy is Eric Gryba.  A knee injury to Eric Gryba brings Nikita Nikitin back into the fold. Since being demoted to Bakersfield in late December, Nikitin has fourteen points (1-13-14) in 27 games.  A good night for Nikitin is if no one notices he's on the ice.

The opponents are saying

"Hey, I want offense.  I'll get you offense.  Let's just do it the right way.  We want everyone to have a checking mentality.  Chicago's the best checking team in the league.  That's what people don't understand.  They can win a game 1-0, 2-1, or 4-1, 6-1 because they check the puck."   Source

That's interim Wild coach John Torchetti on his style of offence.

The Wild are 2-0 since John Torchetti relieved Mike Yeo.

Have some of this

Party people in the place.

  • SHAKE AND BAKE -  Zack Kassian is expected to miss tonight's game with an illness, look for Anton Lander to pop up in the bottom six.  Also:  Nikita Nikitin is playing.  Getting your money's worth tonight.
  • Cam Talbot should get the nod tonight for the Oilers.  Talbot (12-18-3, .913 SV% / 2.67 GAA / 1 SO) will face either Darcy Kuemper (5-3-5, .918 SV% / 2.28 GAA / 2 SO)  or Devan Dubnyk (20-19-5, .917 SV% / 2.40 GAA / 4 SO) though Dubnyk played in Minnesota's victory in Calgary.
  • Another assist for Connor McDavid gives him 25 points (9-16-25) in 21 games on the year.
  • PACIFIC WATCH / SHOOTING FOR SIXTH:  Yeah, there's 23 more games this year.  Maybe they can get 18 points or so out of them, I dunno.
  • Andrew Ference (hip), Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (hand), Eric Gryba (knee)  and Oscar Klefbom (leg), are out for the Oilers, The Wild are without Jonas Brodin (foot), while Marco Scandella (upper body) is day-to-day.