Game Preview: Edmonton Oilers at Minnesota Wild


The Minnesota Wild host the Edmonton Oilers tonight, for their second game facing one another in 5 days. The Wild shut-out the Oilers in Edmonton on Friday with a score of 4-0. Minnesota is coming off of a franchise record 3rd period slaughter of the Dallas Stars on Sunday. The Wild were down 1-0 going into the third on Sunday and finished the game with a score of 6-2, returning the favor of humiliation it received from Dallas on 1/3/15.

Deva Dubnyk will get the goal again, attempting to go 6-0 against the Oilers this season (playing with Arizona and Minnesota).

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If you are interested in reading an in-depth look at why Dubnyk has been so good, this

article by Michael Rand

is a great place to start. Yes, Dubnyk is playing well, and the skaters in front of him are playing like the ones fans appreciate. However, as the article shows, Dubnyk is a great fit for the Wild’s system, especially since he has a great save percentage against shots from “low-danger areas” which seem to be the types of chances the Wild’s skaters have been giving up (for the most part).

Jared Spurgeon

is out tonight, and will be out at least until after the upcoming road trip. He sustained an upper body injury in the first period of the Calgary game last Wednesday night. Without Spurgeon

Matt Dumba

, and

Christian Folin

have been coming up big for the Wild. Matt Dumba has scored two goals in the last few games and Folin had two assists versus the Stars on Sunday.

Edmonton continues its quest for the #1 draft pick (odds are greater for non-playoff teams to draw 1st overall draft pick.)  The Oilers have experienced an atrocious season, leaving their fans fighting over whether it’s better to live in the present and get wins merely for pleasure, or tank and dream big for future seasons. I am always in the boat of the former, since it tends to build character for a team as opposed to the latter which creates an identity of choosing when it’s “worth it” to compete. Last Friday when the Wild were in Edmonton an Oiler fan threw his Jersey on the ice in protest of his supposedly beloved team, which caused the fans around him to fight one another. Scenes like that remind me of how serious hockey is North of the border, and how glad I am that the Wild turned this season around.

Check out the lines for Edmonton below. Jeff Petry will make his return tonight after being out due to injury (ribs) since February 18th.  The article also shows how devastated the Oilers have been by injury.

The Wild have an opportunity to steal the top wildcard spot from Winnipeg, if the Jets lose in regulation tonight as they host the Dallas Stars. The Wild are currently getting a 69% chance of making the play-offs, and they know it. With that boost in confidence and stability, they have been preaching to themselves to push forward, because the Western Conference is stacked, and the Wild’s schedule only gets more challenging in the next 7 weeks. Expect the Wild to continue its winning ways tonight. Every two points it can add now will undoubtedly help later in the season when a points buffer could be a necessity. 23 games remain…Let’s Go Wild!