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Preview: Wild at Oilers

Oilers try for fourth straight win; backup goalie Darcy Kemper plays for Minnesota

by Derek Van Diest / NHL.com Correspondent

WILD (32-11-5) at OILERS (28-15-8)

9 p.m. ET; SNW, FS-N, FS-WI, NHL.TV

 

Wild team scope

The Minnesota Wild are 21-3-1 since defeating the Edmonton Oilers 2-1 in overtime on Dec. 4. That win at Rogers Place was the first of a franchise-high, 12-game winning streak for Minnesota. "I don't think it really has any effect on us when it started, I think we just really started to come together at that point," coach Bruce Boudreau said. "Hopefully, we can continue to stay together and continue to do well like we've been doing recently." Minnesota won four of five games prior to the All-Star break. This is the first of a four-game Western Canada road trip that continues at the Calgary Flames on Wednesday. "We try to break everything down by the weeks and try to be over .500 on the weeks and win the weeks," forward Zach Parise said. "I don't think our mentality on that is going to change, and it starts with this game." Backup goalie Darcy Kuemper will start instead of Devan Dubnyk, who along with defenseman Ryan Suter, represented the Wild at the 2017 Honda All-Star Weekend. Boudreau coached the Central Division team in the 3-on-3 format. "[Dubnyk] would probably playing if we were playing Thursday in [Calgary]," Boudreau said. "But because it's back-to-back, [Dubnyk] was going to play one and [Kuemper] was going to play the other. We thought this was the best way. They had a lot of things going on [at All-Star Weekend] and this way we can get a couple of good practices with [Dubnyk] in there."

 

Oilers team scope

The Oilers will try to extend their winning streak to four games and their point streak to nine games. Edmonton won all three games of a road trip prior to the break. In the race for first place in the Pacific Division, the Oilers and San Jose Sharks each have 64 points, but the Sharks have played one fewer game. "We've been playing some good hockey and we definitely felt good about ourselves heading into the All-Star break," captain Connor McDavid said. "We start back with a huge test against Minnesota. They play such a hard-nosed game. They've been so successful playing that defensive-minded hockey, it's going to be a tough one for us." This is the third and final game against the Wild this season for the Oilers, who lost 2-1 at home in overtime on Dec. 4 and 3-2 in a shootout at Minnesota five days later. "They don't give up much and they score a lot and are one of the best teams in the League," Coach Todd McLellan said. "We've been fortunate enough to come back against them a couple of times and push it to overtime. We'd like to have a better start [Tuesday] and be on our toes a little bit more. But they are the premier team in the league right now." Goaltender Cam Talbot will make his league-high 46th start for the Oilers. Edmonton plays its next three games on the road, beginning Thursday against the Nashville Predators.

 

Wild projected lineup

Nino Niederreiter -- Eric Staal -- Charlie Coyle

Jason Zucker -- Mikko Koivu -- Mikael Granlund

Zach Parise -- Erik Haula -- Jason Pominville

Chris Stewart -- Tyler Graovac -- Jordan Schroeder

Ryan Suter -- Jared Spurgeon

Marco Scandella -- Matt Dumba

Nate Prosser -- Mike Reilly

Darcy Kuemper

Devan Dubnyk

Scratched: Christian Folin

Injured: Victor Bartley (arm), Jonas Brodin (finger)

 

Oilers projected lineup

Patrick Maroon -- Connor McDavid -- Leon Draisaitl

Benoit Pouliot -- Ryan Nugent-Hopkins -- Jordan Eberle

Milan Lucic -- Drake Caggiula -- Anton Slepyshev

Matt Hendricks -- Mark Letestu -- Zack Kassian

Oscar Klefbom -- Adam Larsson

Andrej Sekera -- Kris Russell

Brandon Davidson -- Matt Benning

Cam Talbot

Laurent Brossoit

Scratched: Eric Gryba, Anton Lander

Injured: Andrew Ference (hip), Iiro Pakarinen (knee), Darnell Nurse (foot), Tyler Pitlick (knee), Jujhar Khaira (wrist)

 

Status report

Kuemper is making his 11th start of the season and first since a 4-2 home loss to the Predators on Jan. 22. Folin will be a healthy scratch for the fourth consecutive game … Khaira won't play in Edmonton's four games prior to the Oilers' five-day break from Feb. 6-10.

 

Who's hot

Niederreiter has four goals and six assists in his past seven games. Pominville is on a five-game point streak with two goals and five assists. Granlund has two goals and nine assists during a nine-game point streak. … McDavid has three goals and six assists during his six-game point streak. Draisaitl is on a six-game point streak, with three goals and five assists.

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