MINNESOTA WILD (32-20-4) at
EDMONTON OILERS (25-27-5)
7:08 p.m. MST
Rogers Sportsnet West
630 CHED, Oilers Radio Network and online at edmontonoilers.com.
Game Notes | Oilers/Wild Stats Comparison | Player Head-to-Head Statistics
Edmonton's Tom Gilbert tries to impede the progress of the Wild's Domenic Moore on Dec. 29.
After dropping their last game on Saturday in Calgary against the Flames, the Edmonton Oilers look to get back in the playoff picture this evening when they take on the Minnesota Wild.
Prior to the loss in Calgary, the Oilers ran off a pair of convincing victories on home ice over the Flames and Blackhawks by a combined score of 9-1. However, Saturday’s loss put the club nine back of the final playoff spot in the Western Conference.
Minnesota has played very well recently with a record of 9-3-2 in their last 14 games. Their recent surge has moved them to the top of the Northwest Division and into the third seed in the Western Conference. The Wild right now are three points ahead of second place Colorado.
This is the sixth meeting of the season between Edmonton and Minnesota. The Oilers have won once, lost three times in regulation and lost once in overtime.
Just The Facts...
OILERS TO WATCH: Shawn Horcoff
won’t be in the lineup tonight due to injury and the Oilers will miss his offence considering he has five points in five games against the Wild this season but a trio of other Edmonton skaters have also done well against their Northwest Division rivals this season. Jarret Stoll has three of his nine goals and four points this season against the Wild. Ales Hemsky
has four points in four games and Dustin Penner
has four points in five games… Prior to this season, Hemsky had struggled against the Wild with only four points in 23 games but he has doubled that output and added a shootout winner in a game earlier this season as well… Sam Gagner
is on a three-game scoring streak with a goal and four assists for five points in that span. Gagner is playing his best hockey of the season with 10 points in his last nine games. He has 26 points overall in his rookie campaign.
WILD TO WATCH:
Pierre-Marc Bouchard has continued his Oiler-killing ways this season. In five games against Edmonton, he has put up eight points (2g, 6a). In 27 games in his career, Bouchard has 23 points against Edmonton. He also has seven goals. Both totals are by far the most for him against any NHL team. With 47 points through 57 games, Bouchard ranks second on the Wild and is on his way to eclipsing his career high of 59 points set in 2005-06… Marian Gaborik is clearly the offensive leader of the Wild. He leads the team in goals with 29 and points with 59. He’s also been healthier this season having missed only five games due to injury. Gaborik only played 48 games all of last season… Goaltender Niklas Backstrom has still never lost to the Oilers in his career. In eight career starts, Backstrom is 8-0-0 with a 1.30 goals-against average and .947 save percentage with three shutouts.
VALENTINE'S PUCK SURPRISE:
The Oilers Ladies will be situated on the main concourse of Rexall Place during tonight's game, selling 1,500 specially wrapped autographed pucks for $20 each. Fans who find their puck autographed in gold ink will instantly win a team signed stick as a bonus prize!
For hockey fans not attending the game, the Edmonton Oilers Community Foundation has launched a new online auction featuring a number of exclusive one-of-a-kind Oilers collectibles.
EPCOR PARADE OF CHAMPIONS:
The Edmonton Oilers and EPCOR will welcome two-time Olympic Bronze Medalist Karen Percy-Lowe to Rexall Place as part of EPCOR’s Parade of Champions prior to tonight's game. Karen won her two bronze medals at the 1988 Calgary Winter Olympics in the Downhill and Super G events.
Edmonton – Shawn Horcoff
(shoulder) is out. Sheldon Souray
(shoulder) is out. Raffi Torres (knee) is out; Minnesota – Derek Boogaard (back) is out.
For most of the season, the Oilers were among the league's top 10 and often the league's top 5 in fewest penalty minutes per game but recently that number has dropped. Edmonton is now averaging 13.5 minutes in penalties per game which ranks them 21st in the NHL. As recently as a month ago, the Oilers were 3rd in the league with an average of 11.7 PIM per game. The club has averaged 17.5 PIM per game in the past 17 games.
- Pre-game comments from Moreau, Stoll, Nilsson, Greene, Gilbert & MacTavish: 700K
Shawn Horcoff Videos
- Edmonton Oilers centre Shawn Horcoff
underwent successful surgery on his shoulder last week and recently addressed the media
on his outlook for next season. Also, Horcoff takes time out for his family
The Other Side
- Hockey Day Minnesota - The charm and goodwill of this one-day event, which drew Wild exec Matt Majka to Baudette for the festivities (check out his blog | image gallery), warmed all hockey hearts Saturday and also hooked a new member of the State of Hockey ...more
Item of the Game
- Tonight's item of the game is a Ladies RBK Edge Jersey (One night only, 20% off)
From the Fans
Odds and Ends
- Get to know your Oilers - Ever wondered who your favourite Oiler would take as a partner on The Amazing Race? How about what former Oiler they would have liked to play with? We ask Stortini, Pitkanen, Greene, Glencross and Reasoner all the hard-hitting questions. ...more
From the Wire
Brent Burns helped lead the Minnesota Wild to back-to-back wins over the weekend, allowing them to maintain their slim lead in the Northwest Division.
Burns looks to build on his recent success on Tuesday, when the Wild visit the Edmonton Oilers, the division's last-place team.
Minnesota (32-20-4) is looking to wins its third straight Tuesday after beating the New York Islanders 4-3 in overtime on Saturday before a 2-1 shootout victory over the St. Louis Blues on Sunday. Burns, who scored the game-winner against the Islanders, came up big again on Sunday, scoring in the sixth round in his first shootout opportunity of the season.
"First time on the shootout, and he made a great move," coach Jacques Lemaire said. "He's been hot. We made the right choice and he made us look good."
The defenseman, who is in his fourth season with the Wild, has career highs of 10 goals - including two against the Oilers - and 30 points. Burns isn't the only Wild player to have good success against Edmonton.
Goaltender Niklas Backstrom is 8-0-0 in his career against the Oilers, including a 4-0-0 mark with a 2.17 goals-against average and one shutout this season. Backstrom, who has won five of his last seven starts overall and given the night off Sunday, has a 1.30 GAA and three shutouts lifetime versus Edmonton.
Overall, Minnesota has won nine of its last 10 against the Oilers - four of five this season. The Wild, who lead the Colorado Avalanche by three points atop the Northwest, are 5-1-1 in their last seven overall and 9-3-2 since Jan. 10.
The Oilers (25-27-5), meanwhile return home after being denied a third consecutive win Saturday in a 4-1 road loss to the Calgary Flames. Edmonton trailed 3-0 at the end of two periods before Robert Nilsson broke up the shutout with 3:55 to play.
Edmonton gave up an empty-net goal 2:23 later to close out a disappointing offensive effort. The Oilers attempted just three shots in the first period and were outshot 30-15 for the game after outscoring their previous two opponents 9-1.
"You don't want to stare at the shot clock too much because it can get demoralizing, especially when it was as lopsided as it was tonight," captain Ethan Moreau said. "We didn't provide much of an opponent tonight."
Despite the lackluster offensive game, which came after two days' rest, coach Craig MacTavish said his team showed promise late.
"We were looking most of the game for something good to happen to our hockey club and we were looking a long time," he said. "Finally we get a break in the third and the momentum changes in the game. But at that point it was too little too late."
The Oilers are last in the Northwest with 55 points, in part to their struggles at home. Edmonton is 14-14-1 at home, and its 29 points are tied for sixth fewest in the NHL.