Wild hit the road to face Oilers
Tuesday, 11.29.2011 / 3:42 PMWILD (14-7-3) at OILERS (12-10-2)
: TSN, FS-N (HD), FS-WI (HD)
: Minnesota 6-4-0; Edmonton 3-7-0.
: This will be the fourth of six planned meetings between the two Northwest Division rivals. Minnesota took the first two meetings in a shootout but Edmonton rebounded with a 5-2 win Friday night.
: The Northwest Division-leading Minnesota Wild
are coming off a six-game homestand when they skate into Edmonton, who will start their own six-game homestand against the Wild and will have to do so without the services of left wing Taylor Hall
, who is expected to be out of the lineup for 2-4 weeks after suffering a shoulder injury Saturday night against Colorado.
: Things have gone well in Minnesota for the better part of the year and the Wild have recently proved they will be a tough out anytime an opponent comes to town. During a recent six-game stint, the Wild came out victorious four times. On the year, the Wild are tied for the most home wins in the League. When the Wild skate into Edmonton, they will face an opponent who prevailed, 5-2, just five nights before. Moreover, the Wild followed up that occasion with another 5-2 loss to Calgary. But in the club's most recent outing against Tampa Bay, a complete game paved the way to a 3-1 win, which got the team feeling good about their game to end a long homestand.
"We were confident," Cal Clutterbuck
said. "We were in our element. We knew exactly what we were doing. The biggest thing for us was just sticking with it."
: The Oilers have a chance to end the month of November on a high note with a win against the Minnesota Wild
, especially after dropping their last two decisions to Colorado and Nashville, respectively. In both those efforts, the club's offense failed to deliver, scoring three goals in the two games. It's been hit or miss on offense for the Oilers of late. In their five wins this month, the Oilers outscored the opposition 26-7; in their eight losses, they've been outscored 35-14. Still, the chance to creep up the division standings exists, as the Oilers have five straight home games starting them in the face, beginning with the Wild, after dropping the first game of the homestand in a disappointing fashion.
"I thought our compete level had to improve," coach Tom Renney said. "As a team, we passed up opportunities to put pucks on net and create havoc on rebounds. It was way too easy for Nashville. It's the NHL … shoot the puck."
: For the Wild, Clutterbuck has been a factor of late, posting five points in as many games, including three goals in that span. The Oilers are led by rookie Ryan Nugent-Hopkins
, who has three multi-point games in six games and has points in five of six games.
: Marek Zidlicky
and Guillaume Latendresse
are both out indefinitely with concussions, while defenseman Justin Falk
is day-to-day with a back injury for Minnesota. Meanwhile, the Oilers are without Ben Eager
, Corey Potter
and Andy Sutton
, all of whom are day-to-day; Cam Barker
and Taylor Fedun
are out indefinitely, too, in addition to Hall's recent injury.
: Minnesota skates into their game against Edmonton tied for the most wins in the NHL (14).
: To deal with the loss of Hall and the club's recent struggles, the Oilers will depend on solid special teams to get by, as they are ranked in the Top-10 in both the power play and penalty killing.