EDMONTON -- The Minnesota Wild resumes play after the All-Star break when it plays the Edmonton Oilers at Rogers Place on Tuesday night.
It marks the final meeting of the regular season between the former Northwest Division rivals. Minnesota won each of the first two matchups, including a 2-1 overtime win in Edmonton on Dec. 4. Five days later, the Wild won 3-2 in St. Paul in a shootout.
The Wild carries a seven-game winning streak in Edmonton into the game on Tuesday. It hasn't lost there since Dec. 22, 2011 and is 12-1-0 in northern Alberta dating back to Oct. 21, 2010.
"We'll just go there, we'll work hard and hopefully [Connor] McDavid didn't make it back to Edmonton through the airport and we'll get a break," joked Wild coach Bruce Boudreau. "We're just gonna try. That's all we do."
Minnesota entered the All-Star break as one of the hottest teams in the NHL, winning four of its final five games before the layoff and opening up a four-point lead on the Chicago Blackhawks in the Central Division with three games in hand. Its 69 points through 48 games is a franchise record .
The game marks the beginning of a four-game, nine-day road trip through Canada, beginning with games against Edmonton (Tuesday) and Calgary (Wednesday). The trip continues Saturday in Vancouver before concluding Feb. 7 in Winnipeg.
With back-to-back games to start the trip, Boudreau decided to give goaltender Darcy Kuemper the start against the Oilers, allowing All-Star Devan Dubnyk an extra day of rest. Kuemper has battled inconsistency this season, but has played better of late and said he's feeling good after the break.
"[It's the] same as any other game. You just gotta be ready," Kuemper said. "I felt good today in practice, so I'll carry that momentum into tomorrow."
The extended trip through Canada is the second of the season, as Minnesota went 2-1-1 on its earlier 10-day slog that concluded in Toronto instead of Winnipeg.
It was that road trip, shortly after Thanksgiving, that launched the Wild's red-hot month of December. The shootout win in Edmonton was the first of 12 consecutive victories, a stretch that ended on New Year's Eve. Since a shootout loss in Calgary on Dec. 2, the Wild has posted a 21-3-2 record and has outscored opponents 98-62 during that stretch.
Edmonton also entered the break red hot, winners of seven of its final eight games before the layoff, including a 7-3 win over the Flames in Calgary on Friday.
McDavid leads the NHL in scoring with 59 points, including 42 assists in 51 games this season. Leon Draisaitl leads the club with 19 goals while Patrick Maroon is just behind with 18.
Goaltender Cam Talbot has put together a solid season between the pipes with a 26-12-7 record, a 2.33 goals against average and a .922 save percentage.