Gameday: Edmonton at Wild
- October 13, 2011 - 7:40 AM
Preview: The Oilers (1-0-0) won their season opener Sunday in dramatic fashion -- a home shootout victory over the Penguins. Edmonton has had three days off to prepare for the prospect of beating the Xcel Energy Center jinx. Speaking of which: The Oilers haven't won a game in Minnesota since January 2007. Since then? Sixteen Wild victories in a row, and that includes season home sweeps the past three seasons. The Wild, 1-0-0 at home, returns after a two-game road trip east that included a one-goal loss against the N.Y. Islanders and a shootout loss in Ottawa.
Players to watch: Pierre-Marc Bouchard returns to the lineup after serving his two-game suspension. That should add some offense to the second line. More importantly, it should put some life back into a Wild power play that went 1-for-9 on the two-game trip. LW Dany Heatley (one goal, two assists) leads the Wild in points, with five other players having two points each. Bouchard leads the Wild with 38 (10-28-38) points in 38 games vs. Edmonton. Last season Bouchard had nine points, C Mikko Koivu had eight and C Matt Cullen had six. Center Ryan Smyth leads the Oilers with 35 points in 51 games vs. the Wild.
Numbers: Wild G Niklas Backstrom is 18-2-1 with a 1.74 GAA, a .935 save percentage and four shutouts in 23 starts vs. Edmonton. At home those numbers are even better: 14-0-0, 1.21 and .954.
Injuries: Wild D Mike Lundin (back) Cody Almond (back) are on injured reserve. For Edmonton, D Ryan Whitney (ankle), LW Ben Eager (concussion), C Sam Gagner (ankle) and D Taylor Fedun (broken leg) are on injured reserve.
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