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Oilers chase third straight win against Wild

by Eric Goodman
OILERS (2-0-0) at WILD (0-1-1)

TV -- SNET-W (HD); FS-N (HD)

Season series --
This is the first of six meetings between these Northwest Division foes. Minnesota took three of six meetings last season, with all of those wins coming in regulation and one loss via the shootout.

Big story -- The Oilers seek their third straight win to open up the 2010-11 campaign, while the Wild return to Minnesota for their home opener with hopes of claiming their first victory of the season after getting swept by the Carolina Hurricanes in the Compuware NHL Premiere games in Helsinki, Finland, this past weekend.

Team Scope:

Oilers -- Edmonton is an up-and-coming team that has not made the playoffs since losing in the Stanley Cup Final to the Carolina Hurricanes in 2006. But the Oilers certainly appear poised for a competitive 2010-11 season, as they boast both the No. 1 pick from the 2010 Entry Draft in Taylor Hall and the No. 22 pick from 2008 in Jordan Eberle. Eberle scored a highlight-reel goal against Calgary in the Oilers' home opener on Oct. 7, while Hall collected his first NHL point with an assist on captain Shawn Horcoff's goal against the visiting Panthers during the Oilers' second game of the season on Sunday.

"I know if you ask (Horcoff), he'll take those goals any day," Hall said of his assist on Sunday. "It's not a bad play when you shoot from the corner on net. You never know what could happen and that turned out to be the winning goal for us."

Wild -- The Wild are another club that hasn't had the kind of success it would like recently, having missed the playoffs the past two seasons. But they should be happy to come home to the State of Hockey, where they put up an impressive 25-12-4 record in 2009-10. Despite leaving Finland without a win, Minnesota did manage a point after a hard-fought shootout loss to Carolina this past Friday.

"We had some great chances," coach Todd Richards said after Friday's game. "It was a game that you're disappointed with the result, but you look at every aspect and you're happy with the way the team competed."

Who's hot -- Horcoff had a goal in each of the Oilers' first two games this season, while newcomer Matt Cullen tallied a goal and an assist in the Wild's season-opener in Finland.

Injury report -- For the Oilers, forward Jean-Francois Jacques is on injured reserve following back surgery. … For the Wild, defenseman Marek Zidlicky sat out last Friday's game with a groin injury, while Pierre-Marc Bouchard (concussion) remains sidelined.

Stat pack -- The last time the Oilers opened up the season with a winning streak was in 2008-09 when they reeled off four victories in a row, but then finished up October with five straight losses.

Puck drop --
"We need to get away and get acclimated with the rest of the National Hockey League. There's 29 other teams and so it will be real good for us to get out on the road." -- Oilers coach Tom Renney on his club's upcoming two-game road trip.

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