Tonight the Minnesota Wild are looking to put themselves back into the playoff picture hosting the Edmonton Oilers tonight. Currently the Wild are two points back of Colorado for the final playoff spot. Jason Pominville suffered a lower body injury in Sunday's loss to St. Louis and is out of the lineup tonight. Pominville played in 231 consecutive games tied for the second longest streak in a Wild sweater. Justin Fontaine will take his spot on the second line alongside Erik Haula and Nino Niederreiter. Fontatine has mostly played on the fourth line or in the press box this season. Tonight he gets a chance to play with a line that was red hot, but that line has not registered a point in their last three games. Darcy Kuemper starts tonight in net. It is no secret that Devan Dubnyk has been hit hard with some "regression" columns by local media lately. But regression is not the right word, being burned out is the way I see it. I know the Wild needed points but letting Dubnyk start against some lowly teams (TOR and BUF) evenutally he just looked exhausted when St. Louis rolled into town on Sunday. Plus, Dubnyk is under the weather... so the Wild recalled Steve Michalek from Iowa and will serve as the backup.
The Edmonton Oilers have been at the bottom of the division all season, but hey, they have played better lately! They have won four of their six and goaltender Cam Talbot was named the NHL's First Star last week winning three starts, allowing just two goals in those three starts. But, Talbot took the loss two nights ago against San Jose as Edmonton was shutout. The Oilers offense has produced the third fewest goals per game this season. Which is a bit surprising because this team can "usually" score some goals but that's not the case this season. Connor McDavid is everything they hoped for and Taylor Hall could get to thirty goals this season. But Nail Yakupov has been awful year. He had ten points in his first twelve games to start the season but has since secured just six points in his last 35 games. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins has been injured since January and should return soon but across the board its been just a brutal season for Edmonton.
Minnesota is 21-3-1 in the last 25 meetings with the Oilers in Saint Paul
The Wild have scored at least one power-play goal in 16 of its last 21 games.
The Oilers have a 15-3-2 record this season when leading after the first period