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Preview: Wild @ Oilers

Its been awhile...

Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

After a week hiatus, hockey is back. Well it never went away, but its back... Tonight the Minnesota Wild are in Alberta, Canada to face off with the Edmonton Oilers. Its the first of three meetings between both clubs. After a week off, Minnesota is healthy. Yes, all members of the Wild are healthy, (except Ballard) including, Mikael Granlund. Minnesota needs their centers to start producing, and Granlund will be on the top pairing tonight with Zach Parise and (shameless smiley face) Thomas Vanek. It will be interesting to see how much these lines stick...

Parise - Granlund - Vanek

Zucker - Koivu - Pominville

Cooke - Brodziak - Fontaine

Carter - Coyle - Nino

Suter - Brodin

Scandella - Spurgeon

Prosser - Folin

Dubnyk - Backstrom

The Cooke-Brodziak-Fontaine intrigues me, it seems the Wild really want to establish a checking line and establish more of an identity on the ice. Not to say the 4th pairing is not a checking line either, but we will see how long that sticks. Darcy Kuemper has been sent to Iowa for two-weeks on a conditioning assignment. Devan Dubnyk will get the start against the team that drafted him in 2004. The former Oilers netminder is 3-0 with a 0.97 GAA, stopping 90 of 93 shots against Edmonton. Minnesota has been very successful against Edmonton, owning a life time record of 43-23-10 overall. The Wild’s 19 wins in Edmonton and 43 wins overall are the most against any franchise and Minnesota is 8-1-0 in the last nine games played in Edmonton.

Lots of connections tonight too. Devan Dubnyk  was selected 14th overall by the Oilers in the '04 draft. Kyle Brodziak was acquired from Edmonton in a trade (6/27/09) and recorded 59 points (26-33=59) in 175 games during four seasons with the Oilers. Benoit Pouliot is with his 6th team since Minnesota drafted him fourth overall in 2005. Former Blaine native and St. Cloud State Husky, Matt Hendricks is in his 2nd season with Edmonton too. Check back at 8:15 for the gamethread and Go Wild!