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Winning streak ends, Wild hope to start a new one tonight in Edmonton

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NHL: Edmonton Oilers at Minnesota Wild Marilyn Indahl-USA TODAY Sports

Game 12: Minnesota (6-3-2) @ Edmonton (6-3-1)
8pm CT- Rogers Place
Watch - Fox Sports North & Fox Sports Go App
Radio - KFAN 100.3; Wild Radio Network

One of the hardest things to do in hockey is playing the second game of a back-to-back on the road. Well, for the first time this season, the Wild will have a quick turnaround after playing last night in Vancouver, a 5-2 loss snapping their 6 game win streak.

A look at the Oilers:

Their opponent tonight in the second game of a seven game road trip is one of the most surprising teams so far this season. The Edmonton Oilers. The Oilers come into the game against the Wild at 6-3-1, good for 2nd place in the Pacific Division. The Oilers did not play last night like the Wild did, but are riding a lot of momentum. The Oilers played in a back-to-back last Saturday and Sunday against two very tough Western Conference teams - the Chicago Blackhawks and the Nashville Predators. The result for the Oilers? A 5-3 victory over Nashville and a 2-1 OT victory against Chicago. Might I mention, both of those games were on the road so the Oilers will be happy to be back home packed with a 3 game win streak. At Rogers Place this season, the Oilers are 2-1-1 on the season, and in their last game at home, they beat the defending Cup champs, Washington, 4-1. After their slow start to the season, the Oilers are 6-1-1 in their last 8 against quality teams (Jets, Bruins, Caps, and of course the Preds, and Hawks). The Wild will have to be extra careful tonight or things could get spooky (day before Halloween I had too).

Oilers players to keep an eye on:

Obviously, when you think of the Edmonton Oilers, the first thing that comes to mind is Connor McDavid, behind all the former 1st round players they’ve traded away. Arguably the second best player right now in the NHL, behind Crosby, McDavid is off to another stellar year with 17 points (8G, 9A) in just 10 games. However, you can’t be successful in the NHL with just one player. Okay, you can try but it won’t work that well. That help? McDavid’s left winger Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, and the 2nd line center Leon Draisaitl. RHN has 12 points in 10 games, while Draisaitl has 11 in 10 games. Just because your team can score a lot, doesn’t mean you’ll win a lot unless you have a great goaltender, in which the Oilers do with Cam Talbot. Talbot is 5-3 this season with a 2.67 GAA and a .909sv%. The Wild will have to put pucks on net from start to finish to beat the Oilers tonight.

Dubnyk get the night off:

On the other hand, the Wild come into play tonight looking to get back into the win column after falling last night to Vancouver 5-2. One note that is crucial for the game tonight is that Alex Stalock will be between the pipes giving Devan Dubnyk a much needed night off. Stalock, who hasn’t played since October 20th, a 5-4 OT victory where Stalock stopped 27 of the 31 shots he faced. Stalock hasn’t played much so far early on for the Wild as he will be making only his 3rd start of the season but the Wild will need him to come up big after playing, and traveling to Edmonton last night and early this morning.

A good start means everything:

As I mentioned above, the first 10 minutes of this game will be crucial. The team played last night, have a goalie that hasn’t played in 10 days, and play a team that is one of the hottest in the NHL. You will be able to tell how the night will go for the Wild solely based on the pace of the game (and how the Wild start) in the first half of the period.