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Preview: Wild host Connor McDavid’s team

Brodin’s out, but GREEF is reunited.

NHL: Edmonton Oilers at Minnesota Wild Harrison Barden-USA TODAY Sports

How do you solve a problem like McDaaavid? Well, the Edmonton Oilers has only eight wins over its last 28 meetings with the Minnesota Wild. That’s a great record for Minnesota’s abilities to shut down the league’s biggest star. However, usually that’s with the help of Jonas Brodin who normally is lights out defending against him.

Wild vs. Oilers

When: 7:00 p.m. CT
Where: Xcel Energy Center
Radio: KFAN 100.3 FM

Not to put too fine a point on it but this was last night:

Even without Jonas Brodin, who has a lower-body injury and will miss tonight’s game, the Wild’s defense has been solid enough over the last few outings. They’ve won three out of their last four games. So hopefully Jared Spurgeon will be sticking to McDavid as much like glue as Brodin usually does.

Edmonton has other strong players in their back pocket that the Wild will need to keep track of – Leon Draisatl has four goals in a three-game goal streak and six goals in six games.

The teams’ track records this season aren’t remarkably different. Minnesota is 10-9-2 and Edmonton is 13-10-0. Minnesota is also not without their own firepower. While they haven’t been strong 5-on-5 this season, Kirill Kaprizov is on a franchise record tying 9 game point streak.

Ryan Reaves might not play tonight as he flew back to New York to pack and get his life moved, so he didn’t practice with the team. There’s rumblings that means the GREEF line will be reunited – the combined powers of Jordan Greenway, Joel Eriksson Ek (who has been especially good for several games now), and Marcus Foligno were excellent on 5-on-5 hockey last season and have had few opportunities to reignite that magic so far this season. It would do Minnesota a world of good to have access to that security blanket again, especially against a team with such offensive firepower.

Projected Wild lineup:

Kirill Kaprizov — Sam Steel — Mats Zuccarello
Jordan Greenway — Joel Eriksson-Ek — Marcus Foligno
Nic Petan — Frederick Gaudreau — Matt Boldy
Mason Shaw — Connor Dewar — Ryan Reaves

Jake Middleton — Jared Spurgeon
Alex Goligoski — Matt Dumba
Calen Addison — Jon Merrill

Marc-Andre Fleury will start.

Take the bottom-six and blue line with a grain of salt, the Wild went with seven defensemen and 11 forwards against Arizona and chose to scratch Petan. The Wild have recalled Andrej Sustr – I’m unclear about whether that means he plays tonight and the Wild go with 7D or if he’s coming along for the upcoming road trip, and the Wild go with the traditional 12 and 6 and play Petan.

Puck drop is at 7:00 p.m CT.

Burning Questions

Does Connor McDavid let loose without Jonas Brodin as his shadow?

It bears repeating: Jonas Brodin is so good against Connor McDavid. Not having him tonight is a big loss for the team. Especially against a team so good on 5-on-5 hockey. Hopefully, I’m still just ogling McDavid’s play from last night and unnecessarily catastrophizing. Time will tell!

Can Boldy continue his little scoring streak?

Matt Boldy had a really strong start to season, enough so that there was conversation about if he was amongst the ranks of Kirill Kaprizov as the Best player on the Wild. However, that was followed up by a bit of a scoring slump (granted, this corresponded with the Wild’s general scoring slump, this was only partly an individual problem.) But that seems to have turned around for him the last few games, he went from an eight-game goal drought to 3 goals in 3 games. We need goal scoring from more than just Kaprizov, so hopefully this continues.

See you soon!