Preview: Edmonton at Wild
- March 2, 2013 - 6:52 PM
Preview: The Wild, which returns home for one game after splitting a two-game road trip, is 7-2-1 at the X with points in four consecutive game (3-0-1). The Oilers are 1-1-1 on a nine-game road trip. The Wild is 18-1 against them in the past 19 at home, outscoring Edmonton 65-30 (20-9 on the power play).
Players to watch: G Niklas Backstrom, 5-1-1 in his past seven starts, is 16-0 at home against the Oilers with a 1.30 goals-against average and .950 save percentage. He has allowed more than two goals only twice in that stretch. The Wild's Ryan Suter, the NHL's ice time leader (27 minutes, 35 seconds per game), ranks third among defensemen with 13 assists (nine in the past 10 games). RW Devin Setoguchi has four goals and four assists in the past 10 games. Oilers LW Ryan Smyth is tied for third all-time against the Wild with 20 goals and is sixth in scoring with 42 points in 58 games. C Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, drafted first overall in 2011 at Xcel Energy Center, has one goal this year.
Numbers: The Wild beat the Oilers in 17 consecutive games at home before losing Nov. 25, 2011. The Wild's 39 victories against the Oilers are its most against any franchise. ... The Wild is 8-3-2 this year in one-goal games and has the sixth-best penalty kill in the NHL (.859).
Injuries: Wild RW Cal Clutterbuck (thigh contusion) and G Josh Harding (symptoms related to multiple sclerosis) are out. Oilers LW Taylor Hall (hamstring) is questionable. D Mark Fistric (elbow) and D Corey Potter (head) are doubtful. D Andy Sutton (knee), C Shawn Horcoff (knuckle), G Nikolai Khabibulin (groin) and C Anton Lander (foot) are out.
Etc.: Oilers defenseman Nick Schultz, the Wild's all-time leader in games played, makes his first return to the X.
© 2013 Star Tribune