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Edmonton Oilers @ Minnesota Wild Game Preview

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Three to go, can Oilers put a winning streak to close out the season?

NHL: Minnesota Wild at Nashville Predators Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Minnesota Wild (43-25-10), (3rd, Central)

Edmonton Oilers (34-39-6) (6th, Pacific)

6 PM MT

Xcel Energey Center

TV: Sportsnet West

Radio: 630 CHED

SB Nation Opponent: Hockey Wilderness

BREAKDOWN:

The latest installment of the Battle of Alberta saw Calgary score three times in the first period en route to a 3-2 Flames victory. Garnet Hathaway scored a shorthanded goal, Mikael Backlund scored the eventual game winner, and the Oilers could never fully recover despite outshooting Calgary by a near 2/1 margin.

The Wild are jockeying for playoff position. The Oilers can stymie those efforts with a win tonight.

Let’s go to the tape.

The Oilers are saying

“We were happy with the start, getting the first goal, but we weren’t happy with the next three. A couple of them were questionable where we could have defended better or got a save. That put us behind the 8-ball. We decided to play harder and compete a little bit more after the first.”

Source

That’s Oilers head coach Todd McLellan on his club’s 3-2 loss to the Flames on Saturday night.

I love it when coaches say things like “we decided to play harder” like that wasn’t the plan all along. Oilers are 0-3-1 in their last four after going 4-1 in their previous five.

The Wild are saying

“We all care about each other in here. You never want to see anybody go off hurt, but when it’s one of your top defensemen, if not your top defenseman, then it’s going to hurt a little bit more. We just keep our fingers crossed and hope it’s not too serious. He’s as tough as they come, so he’ll be out for as short as he possibly can be”

Source

That’s Wild goaltender Devan Dubnyk after Minnesota’s 4-1 loss to the Stars on Saturday.

Minnesota is currently third in the Central division, three points in front of Colorado. A win tonight would provide some much-needed cushion for the Wild.

Have some of this

  • “Yes we stink, but we self-immolated because we wanted to compete with the other California teams who are going to the playoffs (but we’re not). While we normally don’t give a damn about what you think, you were on board with this when we did it, and it’s all your fault”.
  • Oilers will have to clean up that ugly power play from the other night. 0/5 isn’t going to win you very many games, though it might help not to send Milan Lucic, Ryan Strome or whatever you’ve got left of the makeshift man-advantage.
  • No points for Connor McDavid in Saturday night’s loss, he’s idle at 103 points. Nikita Kucherov is next in line with 97.
  • Minnesota is 11th overall in goals per game (3.03), they’re also 11th in goals allowed (2.79). They’re 15th overall in power play percentage (20.6), and they’re 15th on the PK (80.7%). What’s it all mean? They’re good enough for the playoffs right now.
  • Expect Cam Talbot to start tonight for the Oilers. (29-30-3, .906 SV%, 3.06 GAA / 1 SO). Devan Dubnyk (33-15-7, .917 SV% / 2.57 GAA / 4 SO) ought to get the nod for the Wild.
  • SICK BAY: Oscar Klefbom (shoulder) is out for the season. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (lower body) and Matthew Benning (upper body) are day-to-day. For the Wild, defenceman Gustav Olofsson (upper body) is day-to-day, while defencemen Ryan Suter and Jared Spurgeon are out indefinitely.