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Minnesota Wild vs Edmonton Oilers: Game 22

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Minnesota Wild (13-5-3) vs Edmonton Oilers (11-8-2)

Xcel Energy Center @ 3:00PM CDTTelevision: FSN
Listen Live at: KFAN (100.3) or Wild.com

For the Edmonton perspective, check out Lowe Tide

Minnesota Wild
Edmonton Oilers

Devin Setoguchi - Mikko Koivu - Dany Heatley
Cal Clutterbuck - Matt Cullen - Pierre-Marc Bouchard
Colton Gillies - Kyle Brodziak - Darroll Powe
Brad Staubitz - Warren Peters - Nick Johnson

Clayton Stoner - Marco Scandella
Nate Prosser - Nick Schultz
Justin Falk - Jared Spurgeon

Josh Harding
Niklas Backstrom

Ryan Smyth - Ryan Nugent-Hopkins - Jordan Eberle
Taylor Hall - Shawn Horcoff - Ales Hemsky
Ryan Jones - Eric Belanger - Sam Gagner
Ben Eager - Anton Lander - Magnus Paajarvi

Ladislav Smid - Tom Gilbert
Theo Peckham - Jeff Petry
Colten Teubert - Ryan Whitney

Nikolai Khabibulin
Devan Dubnyk

The Wild own a 17 game winning streak at the X against the Oilers. Niklas Backstrom has a ridiculous record against them as a whole. Still, this afternnon's game is not any of those games. This afternoon's game is a unique event in time, wholly separate from the rest of the games played. If anyone on either roster is buying into the superstition of the winning streak, etc, they are in for a long night.

The Wild have a challenge on their hands as Nugent-Hopkins comes to town smack dab in the middle of his Calder Trophy run. The rest of the team is, as we have discussed before, in the middle of a youth movement, and all of the "kids" are playing very well. On top of that, Khabibulin is playing lights out in net, which will make it difficult on the Wild to score. Note: The Wild likely will not wait for Khabibulin to fall down to score on him tonight.

For the Wild, Backstrom returns from his personal day, but Harding gets the start (Per Russo). After a big win against a very good Predators team, the team should feel confident in their system (which worked exactly as it should), and trust that if they lay their game, they can beat anyone. The top line may not be up to expectations, but the points have started to roll in, which could be very bad news for the Oilers if that continues.

Should be a fun one at the X. Arrive early. Occupy the X.

Five Questions:

  1. Young offense, or young defense. Which one comes out on top today?
  2. The top line has seen some superb chances, can they capitalize?
  3. Backstrom owns a controlling interest in the Oilers (not really), does Harding continue the pattern?
  4. That passive 1-4 forecheck... will anyone be awake?
  5. The Wild continue to fly below the radar. Any 51-year olds signed to bring some publiciity?