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Oilers at Wild preview

Zuccarello returns to Minnesota lineup; Smith starts for Edmonton

by Jessi Pierce / Independent Correspondent

OILERS (7-1-1) at WILD (2-6-0)

8 p.m. ET; FS-N, FS-WI, SNOL, NHL.TV


The Game

Mats Zuccarello will return for the Minnesota Wild against the Edmonton Oilers at Xcel Energy Center on Tuesday.

The forward missed four games with a lower-body injury and will try to help the Wild win consecutive games for the first time since a five-game winning streak from Feb. 21 to March 2. Minnesota avoided its worst start to a season with a 4-3 win against the Montreal Canadiens on Sunday.

The Oilers are 2-1-1 in their past four games after a five-game winning streak (5-0-0) to begin the season. Edmonton concludes a two-game road trip after losing 1-0 to the Winnipeg Jets in a shootout Sunday.


Players to watch

Oilers forward Leon Draisaitl was held without a point Sunday for the first time this season. He has 16 points (six goals, 10 assists) in nine games and is three assists away from 200 in the NHL. 

Wild forward Jason Zucker had a goal and an assist against the Canadiens. He's scored three goals in eight games, tied for the team lead with forward Zach Parise and defenseman Brad Hunt. Each of his goals has come on the power play. 


They said it

"[Minnesota is] a team that, they dug themselves a bit of a hole, but they're going to try to scratch and claw their way out of it. We've got to be prepared." -- Oilers coach Dave Tippett

"[Edmonton's] obviously off to a great start, and [center Connor McDavid] is off to a great start. We could talk about McDavid all night long, but there's a lot of other players that are having great starts. ... As much as we have to worry about him all the time, I think the reason their record is what it is, is because everybody is playing well." -- Wild coach Bruce Boudreau 


Oilers projected lineup

Leon Draisaitl -- Connor McDavid -- Zack Kassian

Alex Chiasson -- Ryan Nugent-Hopkins -- James Neal

Jujhar Khaira -- Riley Sheahan -- Josh Archibald

Tomas Jurco -- Markus Granlund -- Patrick Russell

Darnell Nurse -- Ethan Bear

Oscar Klefbom -- Kris Russell

Brandon Manning -- Matt Benning

Mike Smith

Mikko Koskinen

Scratched: William Lagesson, Sam Gagner

Injured: Adam Larsson (leg), Joakim Nygard (rib), Joel Persson (concussion)


Wild projected lineup

Jordan Greenway -- Eric Staal -- Mats Zuccarello

Zach Parise -- Mikko Koivu -- Jason Zucker

Ryan Donato -- Luke Kunin -- Gerald Mayhew

Marcus Foligno -- Gabriel Dumont -- Ryan Hartman

Ryan Suter -- Jared Spurgeon

Jonas Brodin -- Matt Dumba

Carson Soucy -- Brad Hunt

Devan Dubnyk

Alex Stalock

Scratched: Nick Seeler

Injured: Joel Eriksson Ek (lower body), Victor Rask (lower body), Kevin Fiala (lower body), Greg Pateryn (core)


Status report

Smith will start his second straight game for Edmonton. ... Eriksson Ek was placed on injured reserve Tuesday. …Fiala is day to day.


Stat pack

McDavid is without a point in two straight games. He has not gone three consecutive games without a point since Dec. 29, 2017 - Jan. 2, 2018.  … Spurgeon will play his 600th game in the NHL. ... Boudreau is one coaching win from passing Billy Reay (542) for sole possession of 23rd place.

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