EDMONTON – The Wild won’t face Oilers captain Connor McDavid Friday, as the center isn’t ready to return from a quad injury that’s sidelined him the past five games.
But the final matchup on this two-game road trip will still be quite a test.
“They’re [without] McDavid, but that means everyone else has to step up a little bit and I think teams are good at that,” defenseman Carson Soucy said. “Teams with depth and better teams are good at stepping up when their top guys are out.”
That’s certainly been the case for the Oilers, who are 3-1-1 while McDavid’s been out. Edmonton is coming off a 2-1 overtime loss to the Bruins on Wednesday.
As for the Wild, it pocketed a 4-3 shootout win that same night in Vancouver. But interim coach Dean Evason still noticed areas where the Wild could improve.
“We didn’t get as many pucks to the net as we would have liked as far as shooting the puck,” Evason said. “We got in on our forecheck. We created some turnovers but once we got the puck, we didn’t shoot it. We tried to be a little too cute.
“Defensively, we’ve got to do a better job getting out of our zone.”
Despite winning in its last game, the Wild will make a few lineup changes ahead of taking on the Oilers.
Backup Alex Stalock will be in net, center Victor Rask will take winger Ryan Donato’s spot on the fourth line and Greg Pateryn will sub in for Brad Hunt on the third defensive pairing. These moves mean that every player will have suited up at least once during the dads/mentors’ trip.
Zach Parise-Eric Staal-Kevin Fiala
Alex Galchenyuk-Luke Kunin-Mats Zuccarello
Marcus Foligno-Joel Eriksson Ek-Jordan Greenway
Victor Rask-Mikko Koivu-Ryan Hartman
Ryan Suter-Jared Spurgeon
Jonas Brodin-Matt Dumba
Carson Soucy-Greg Pateryn
14-3: Record for the Wild in its last 17 games in Edmonton.
6: Goals for winger Kevin Fiala in his past eight games.
26: Career points for center Eric Staal in 23 contests vs. the Oilers.
5: Points this season for Staal in two matchups against Edmonton.
3: Goals or more by the Wild in 14 of its last road outings.
About the Oilers:
A win by Vegas Thursday night dropped Edmonton to second in the Pacific Division with 71 points. The Oilers are one behind the Golden Knights and one ahead of the Canucks. Center Leon Draisaitl leads the NHL in scoring with 95 points through 60 games. He has points in five of his last six games, recording five goals and seven assists in that span. He also leads the NHL with 29 multi-point games.