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Wild @ Oilers: The Stretch Run Begins

'State Of Hockey' visits Oil Country as the Oilers inch closer to the second season

After an All-Star Weekend, it's back to business.
After an All-Star Weekend, it's back to business.
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports



32-11-5, 69 points, 1.438 p/g Ranks 28-15-8, 64 points, 1.255 p/g
Central Division - 1st Pacific Division - 2nd
2nd Points per Game 9th
8th Special Teams 13th
20th Shots on Goal 6th
2nd Goals Against per Game 7th
7:00 PM MDT
TV - Sportsnet West
Radio - 630 CHED
Rogers Place

The opposing view


Patrick Maroon - Connor McDavid - Leon Draisaitl
Benoit Pouliot - Ryan Nugent-Hopkins - Jordan Eberle
Milan Lucic - Drake Caggiula -  Anton Slepyshev
Matt Hendricks - Mark Letestu - Zack Kassian


Adam Larsson - Oscar Klefbom
Andrej Sekera - Kris Russell
Brandon Davidson - Matthew Benning


Cam Talbot
Laurent Brossoit

The Stretch Run Begins

Hope everyone enjoyed their All-Star Break as much as I did.  Barn-burner.  Wooo.

The Oilers find themselves in a position that they're not used to.  At least, not in the last decade.  A cursory glance at the Pacific Division would reveal the Oilers are tied for first place with the Sharks.  They've got 64 points, nearly the point total they accumulated all of last season.  The Oilers only need to play Bettman .500 level hockey from here on out to get them into the second season.

Tonight, they'll take on a force in the Central Division with the Minnesota Wild.

Let's go to the tape.

The Oilers are saying

That's Oilers forward Leon Draisaitl on keeping momentum.

The Oilers are 7-2-1 in their last ten games.  They'll likely have their hands full tonight with the Wild.

The opponents are saying

That's Wild head coach Bruce Boudreau on his hockey club's upcoming schedule.

Seems like no one really loves the break.

Have some of this

  • Tonight begins the first of a four game road trip for the Wild.  They'll face Calgary tomorrow night at the Saddledome.  Maybe the Oilers luck out and face Darcy Kuemper tonight instead of Devan Dubnyk in net.
  • Minnesota is crushing the Central Division right now.  They're in first place, ahead of the Blackhawks by four points (with three games in hand).  They're second in the league in goals allowed per game (Washington is first)  fourth in goals scored, a top ten power play (21.5%) and Devan Dubnyk turning aside everything with a .938 SV%.
  • A few years ago, Zach Parise signed one of the biggest free agent deals that I can remember.  He's 32 today, he's got eight more years on his deal, and he's currently ninth on the team in scoring with 22 points (8-14-22).  Next time you're angry about Jordan Eberle, take a deep breath and realize that the Oilers aren't going to end up buying out six years of the Parise deal.
  • Cam Talbot will start for the Oilers (26-12-7, .922 SV% / 2.33 GAA / 4 SO).  If we're lucky, Darcy Kuemper (5-3-2, .901 SV% / 3.28 GAA) will go for the Oilers.
  • Iiro Pakarinen (knee), Tyler Pitlick (knee), Jujhar Khaira (wrist) and Darnell Nurse (lower body) will be out for the Oilers. The Wild will be without defenceman Jonas Brodin (finger