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GAME PREVIEW: Edmonton Oilers @ Minnesota Wild

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Oilers in Minnesota for Wild Time

Carolina Hurricanes v Edmonton Oilers Photo by Andy Devlin/NHLI via Getty Images

Edmonton Oilers (18-11-4) 1st, Pacific vs

Minnesota Wild (14-12-5) 6th, Central

12 December 2019

Xcel Energy Arena

600 PM MST

TV: Sportsnet Oilers

Radio: 630 CHED

SB Nation Opponent: Hockey Wilderness

A FRESH BREAK

Let’s not talk much about last game. Let’s not talk much about the 6-3 loss that had the Oilers go down by three goals on two separate occasions. Or that tremendously awful goal that Mikko Koskinen yielded. Let’s not talk about how the Oilers have three teams breathing down their necks in the Pacific Division. Let’s not talk about how the Oilers are under a Betman .500 after starting off the season 5-0-0. Let’s just focus on the game ahead, which is a one game roadie in Minnesota. Let’s keep our eyes on the prize. Yeah.

Let’s go to the tape.

THE OILERS ARE SAYING

For the most part this year, we’ve been good at home. This one wasn’t our best, but we battled, we hung in there even when we got down. That’s something that we need to fix, definitely, our starts, but the way we battled back is definitely a promising thing.

Source

That’s Oilers centre Ryan Nugent-Hopkins on his club’s 6-3 loss at home to the Hurricanes on Tuesday night.

Credit to the Oilers for making this one interesting. After going down by a 3-0 margin in the first, the Oilers struck back to make it 3-3 on a pair of goals by Zack Kassian and a power play goal by Nugent-Hopkins. If you can erase the first and third periods from your memory, it wasn’t a bad game at all.

THE WILD ARE SAYING

To start out that first period like that, to get one shot on goal at home, it’s pretty embarrassing, and I told the guys that. I said, ‘Our first 10 games weren’t very good, like with the won-loss record, but nothing compares to what we did in the first period.

Source

That’s Wild head coach Bruce Boudreau after his team’s 3-2 loss to the Anaheim Ducks on Tuesday night.

Shots are good, especially when you can get more than one a period. I’d encourage most teams to take a bunch of them. Rickard Rakell would take care of business in the shootout, and the Wild would take just one point from the Ducks.

LINES

HAVE SOME OF THIS

  • OH IT’S THIS AGAIN: I’d argue that Draisaitl could benefit with a game where he’s not out on the ice for nearly half the time. McDavid, too. I think we’re starting to see some cracks in the foundation after running 97 and 29 so hard. Did you see that penalty shot that McDavid took? Get the guy a power nap already.
  • BUT SERIOUSLY: I don’t want to hear about “body language”. This is classic “laying the groundwork” material that ends up chasing a player out of Edmonton. It happened to Hemsky and countless other Oilers. Put it away.
  • Normally this is a game that I’d be running around shaking my fist and saying THE OILERS HAVE TO WIN THIS, but maybe the Oilers ought to win this? Maybe? The Minnesota Wild aren’t good. They’re 17th in goals scored per game, and only five teams allow more goals per game than they do. It’s bad. It’s not good. This is a very winnable game for the Oilers.
  • Jason Zucker leads the Wild in scoring with 21 points (11-10-21). Eric Staal has twenty, while Zach Parise is third with 19. Save for Zucker, the top 5 Wild scorers are all 30+ years of age.
  • ARE WE GOING TO LET THIS JUST HAPPEN AGAIN? More on this later this week, but the Oilers had a brilliant start to the season. They’ve done less well since, and they need some help via either a callup or a trade. When’s this going to happen, Ken?
  • NET GAINS: Tippett is gonna go back to Mike Smith (7-7-2, .903 SV% / 2.88 GAA / 1 SO) tonight. He shouldn’t, but he’s going to. Alex Stalock (8-4-2, .906SV% / 2.91 GAA / 1 SO) is likely for the Wild.
  • SICK BAY: The Oilers are without Matt Benning (head). The Wild are without defenceman Jared Spurgeon (knee) upper body, while Greg Pateryn, Mikko Koivu, Eric Staal and Mason Shaw are all day-to-day with various ailments. Former Oilers goaltender Devan Dubnyk has taken a personal leave of absence.