Skip to Main Content
game preview

Wild look to stay perfect under Torchetti

Have won two straight, visit Oilers

by Derek Van Diest / Correspondent

WILD (25-22-10) at Oilers (22-30-6) 

TV: 9 p.m. ET; FS-N, FS-WI 

EDMONTON - The Edmonton Oilers are expecting a rejuvenated Minnesota Wild team at Rexall Place on Thursday under new interim coach John Torchetti. 

The Wild have won their first two games with Torchetti, who replaced Mike Yeo on Saturday. 

"Minnesota has a new coach and all those guys are trying to get into his good books and earn his trust," Oilers right wing Teddy Purcell said. "We know they're going to come out with another strong effort. They scored a couple of power-play goals [Wednesday], so we have to do a better job than we did against Anaheim of staying out of the penalty box." 

The Oilers lost 5-3 against the Anaheim Ducks on Tuesday. Edmonton has lost five of their past six games (1-4-1) and five consecutive games at home against the Wild. 

"I think a coaching change is huge," Purcell said. "Anytime you're going through a slump, sometimes a new voice is big, every guy in the League goes through it at one point or another in their career. The new coach probably knows most of those guys, but not having seeing them day in and day out, the guys probably want to work hard and show that they're responsible, so we know we're going to get a pretty honest effort tonight." 

Minnesota lost eight consecutive games (0-6-2) and 13 of 14 (1-11-2) before Yeo was fired. The Wild defeated the Vancouver Canucks 5-2 on Monday in Torchetti's first game as coach, and defeated the Calgary Flames 5-3 on Wednesday. 

"I think there is that natural tendency to take it up a notch," Oilers coach Todd McLellan said. "If there was a time frame, where if anybody was in the back of their mind, blaming a coach or a coaching staff, that's gone now. Sometimes panic sets in and player responsibility takes over and they figure they better get going." 

The Oilers went through a similar transition last season. Coach Dallas Eakins was fired and replaced with Todd Nelson on Dec. 15, 2014, after 31 games. 

"I think the situations are different everywhere, but at the end of the day, we're all people, we all have feelings and anytime you see a guy that you spend a lot time with get fired, it's never easy," Purcell said. "They have families too and it's their home and it's tough for everyone." 
The Oilers lost 4-3 at Minnesota in their first game against the Wild this season. 

Edmonton will be without defenseman Eric Gryba, who was placed on injured reserve with a knee injury, sustained in the loss against Anaheim. Defenseman Adam Clendening will take Gryba's place in the lineup. 

Forward Zack Kassian skated Thursday morning, but will not be back in the lineup, recovering from the flu. 

"It's not fair to put him in that situation," McLellan said. "His energy levels are low, but we think he's come out of it and we think he'll be good to play on Saturday [against the Colorado Avalanche]." 

Goaltender Cam Talbot will start for Edmonton. Minnesota did not hold a morning skate so it is unclear who will start in net. 

Here are the projected lineups: 


Zach Parise - Mikko Koivu - Charlie Coyle   

Jason Zucker - Mikael Granlund - Thomas Vanek   

Nino Niederreiter - Erik Haula - Jason Pominville   

Ryan Carter - Jarret Stoll - Justin Fontaine   

Ryan Suter - Jared Spurgeon   

Marco Scandella - Matt Dumba   

Christian Folin - Mike Reilly   

Darcy Kuemper   

Devan Dubnyk  

Injured: Jonas Brodin (foot) 

Scratched: Chris Porter, Niklas Backstrom, Nate Prosser   


Benoit Pouliot - Connor McDavid - Jordan Eberle  

Taylor Hall - Leon Draisaitl - Teddy Purcell 

Matt Hendricks - Mark Letestu - Nail Yakupov  

Iiro Pakarinen - Anton Lander - Lauri Korpikoski  

Andrej Sekera - Mark Fayne  

Darnell Nurse - Justin Schultz  

Brandon Davidson - Adam Clendening   

Cam Talbot 

Laurent Brossoit  

Injured: Oscar Klefbom (lower body), Andrew Ference (hip), Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (hand), Eric Gryba (knee), Zack Kassian (flu) 

Scratched: Nikita Nikitin 

Status report: The Oilers reassigned goaltender Laurent Brossoit to Bakersfield of the AHL and recalled Nilsson, who will backup Talbot against the Wild. Edmonton also recalled Nikitin, who will not be in the lineup. 

Who's hot: Eberle has three goals and two assists in his past three games … McDavid has three goals and five assists in his past five games … Coyle has three goals in his past three games … Koivu has two goals and three assist in his past five games. 

View More

The NHL has updated its Privacy Policy effective January 16, 2020. We encourage you to review it carefully.

The NHL uses cookies, web beacons, and other similar technologies. By using NHL websites or other online services, you consent to the practices described in our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service, including our Cookie Policy.