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Preview: Game 71 Edmonton Oilers vs. Arizona Coyotes

Talbot continues to shine for Oilers, Nugent-Hopkins is due back tonight.

After missing nearly two months of action, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins is ready to roll.
After missing nearly two months of action, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins is ready to roll.
Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports



29-32-7,  65 points, .956 p/g Ranks 27-36-7, 61 points,  .872 p/g
Pacific Division - 4th Pacific Division - 7th
24th P/G 29th
21st ST 20th
29th S/G 22nd
29th Goal 25th
8:00 PM MDT
Radio - 630 CHED
Rexall Place
The opposing view:  Five For Howling

Oilers emerge on top in Minnesota

29 saves for Cam Talbot helped propel the Oilers to a 2-1 victory over the Wild in Minnesota.  I don't have a calendar on me, but it seems like the Oilers haven't won in Minnesota in years.  Lauri Korpikoski scored his ninth goal of the season midway through the first period, while Connor McDavid broke a 1-all tie midway through the third.  Zach Parise would score the lone Minnesota goal, and that took place in the second period.  Connor McDavid's fourteenth goal of the year gives him his 35th point in 33 games.  Korpikoski's goal...well, good for him.

The Oilers will get a familiar face back into the lineup tonight as Ryan Nugent-Hopkins is slated to return.  Let's go to the tape.

The Oilers are saying

"The biggest thing is, we haven't been able to put our team together on the ice to really know what we have or don't have and give it time to jell or grow"


That's Oilers head coach Todd McLellan on getting Ryan Nugent-Hopkins back into the lineup, and why the Oilers may have been more stagnant than one would hope.


Getting Ryan Nugent-Hopkins back is good for many reasons.  His 30 points in 46 games suggest that his offence is badly needed back into the lineup.  I'll assume Coach was talking only about offence, because even when everyone is ready to go on the blue line it smells like hot durian.

The opponents are saying

"There's a lot of young guys here that are kind of learning their way.  These are big games for all of us.  We're trying to get better as a team and grow as a group."   Source

That's Coyotes forward Brad Richardson.

The Coyotes are trying to grow as a group, at least, according to Brad Richardson.  The Oilers are trying to grow from a lottery team to a team that misses the playoffs, but only not to the point where they're involved in lottery talk every year.  Then, they grow into a marginal playoff team.  Then BAM!, Stanley Cup.  That's how decade long rebuilds work, right?  .

Have Some Of This

  • Noticeably absent form this tweet is Nail Yakupov.  Where is Yakupov?  That's easy.  He'll be picking up various pieces of trash and cigarette butts outside of Rexall Place with a tiny broom and dustpan.  Wave hello and give him a hug.  He's a nice guy.
  • NUGE IS HUGE - Getting the first overall draft pick from the 2011 NHL Entry Draft is, in fact, huge.  Huge for no other reason than we can get rid of the Letestu on PP2 experience.  What a drag, man.  On a somewhat more serious note, having RNH out there will only help boost the NHL's 27th ranked offence.  The Oilers average just 2.35 goals a game, which is not nearly enough when you consider what's up front.
  • Connor McDavid, you guys.
  • SHINING STAR - Cam Talbot is the reason that the Oilers are winning games.  You can spare me your "physicality has helped this team turn the corner" angle, because they're still scoring exactly two goals more often than not.  If you're skeptical on that last part, you'll do yourself a favor and check out last game's AHL defence. Go on back even further, it's still ugly even with Darnell Nurse in the lineup. Talbot's SV% over his last five games is .962.  How he goes, the team goes.
  • Speaking of Talbot, he's the likely go for tonight's matchup.  Talbot (17-23-4, .920 SV% / 2.48 GAA / 2 SO) will likely  square off against Louis Domingue (14-15-5, .912 SV% / 2 SO).  Domingue was the man between the pipes for Arizona last night for the Coyotes' 4-1 victory over the Flames.
  • Andrew Ference (hip), Darnell Nurse (suspension), Brandon Davidson (knee), Eric Gryba (knee), Benoit Pouliot (shoulder)  and Oscar Klefbom (leg), are out for the Oilers, The Coyotes will be without Jared Tinordi (suspended), Oliver Ekman Larsson (shoulder), Anders Lindback (heel), Joe Vitale (concussion) and Anders Lindback (abdomen)