Edmonton Oilers (14-12-2) (5th, Pacific)
Minnesota Wild (15-11-2) (5th, Central)
7:00 PM MST
TV: Sportsnet West
Radio: 630 CHED
BACK IN THE WIN COLUMN
The Oilers emerged victorious in St. Louis in a shootout. There are two sides to this coin: the Blues are as bad as the Kings this year, they’re snake-bitten by injuries to key players, and it’s a game that the Oilers had to play catch-up to win. The other side of the coin? They came back from a two goal deficit on the road. With the Blues up 2-0 after one, it was Ryan Nugent-Hopkins who would bring them to within one goal in the second. Oscar Klefbom scored a beauty with the goalie pulled in the last minute of regulation. Both Nugent-Hopkins and a not-quite 100% Connor McDavid (you may have heard of him before) cashed in the shootout. The Oilers win! Cam Talbot wins! Everybody wins. You and me.
The Oilers look to keep the wins a-flowin’ with a meeting from the Minnesota Wild this evening. Can they make it two in a row?
Let’s go to the tape.
The Oilers are saying
“His analytics pop up strongly where exactly we need to go. He scores from short range. He’s got a quick stick in close. He fights for position. He holds ice in areas where we need more help.”
That’s Oilers head coach Ken Hitchcock on recent waiver addition Valentin Zykov.
Get to the net, shake some action. I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s in the top six tonight to the left of RNH.
The Wild are saying
“I thought we were sloppy...Right from the get-go, they had two really good chances in the first five minutes. I always think, for the most part, our effort’s there. But for a lot of our guys, they weren’t handling the puck well.”
That’s Wild head coach Bruce Boudreau after his club’s 2-0 loss in Calgary last night.
The Wild are playing their second game in as many nights, they scored zero goals in Calgary. The Oilers need to take advantage of a team playing the latter half of a back-to-back.
HAVE SOME OF THIS
- LINES: Drake Caggiula is on the IR after sustaining a hand accident in practice before the Blues game on Wednesday. It was originally thought to be minor, but it’s enough to put him on IR for the time. The Oilers have activated Valentin Zykov, who’s my guess to take Caggiula’s spot in the top six. Jujhar will probably get put on one of the “third” lines (the one without Lucic). Cooper Marody was called up, Patrick Russell was shipped down.
- STILL A LITTLE DRY: The Oilers are 5-2-1 over the eight games since Ken Hitchcock has taken over for Todd McLellan. That’s great. They’ve only scored 16 goals over that time, which isn’t much. Oilers need to find a way to start pumping some more pucks into the net.
- BRIGHT SPOTS: Oscar Klefbom has easily been this team’s best defenceman so far this year. Last game he puts up the game tying goal in the last minute of play, and he was on the ice for 30:42 out of a possible 65 minutes. AND he’s on the same contract for the next four years at 4.17MM? Ought to keep that guy around. Remember when Elliotte Friedman suggested the Oilers were shopping him nine months ago when his shoulder was all jacked up? Don’t make me go get the clip.
- NET GAINS:Cam Talbot picked up his sixth win of the season in Wednesday’s 3-2 shootout victory by stopping 28 of 30 St. Louis shots. I’ve got him starting tonight (6-9-1, .892 SV% / 3.11 GAA) while the Minnesota Wild are likely to trot out old friend Devan Dubnyk (10-8-2, .911 SV% / 2.68 GAA)
- SICK BAY: Oilers are without Andrej Sekera (ankle) and Tobias Rieder (face). Drake Caggiula (hand) is also out. The Wild have no injuries to list at this time.
Draisaitl-McDavid-Chiasson— Reid Wilkins (@ReidWilkins) December 7, 2018
Oilers expected line combos for tonight against the Wild.
D:— Reid Wilkins (@ReidWilkins) December 7, 2018
Talbot probable starter in net.