The Sports Daily > Crease and Assist
Game Preview: Minnesota Wild vs. Edmonton Oilers 4/26/2013 @ 7:00PM CST at Xcel Energy Center

Minnesota Wild (25-18-3)  53pts  2nd in the Northwest

2.48 Goals For (21st)

2.56 Goals Against (15th)

17.8% Power Play (16th)

80.3% Penalty Kill (21st)

Top 5 Scorers:

1. #11 Zach Parise ~ 17G 20A = 37pts

2. #9 Mikko Koivu ~ 10G 25A = 35pts

3. #29 Jason Pominville ~ 14G 20A = 34pts

4. #20 Ryan Suter ~ 4G 28A = 32pts

5. #10 Devin Setoguchi ~ 12G 14A = 26pts

Top 3 PIM's:

1. #28 Zenon Konopka ~ 100 PIM's

2. #27 Mike Rupp ~ 67 PIM's

3. #4 Clayton Stoner ~ 42 PIM's

Top Goaltender(s):

1. #32 Niklas Backstrom (23-14-3)  2.46GAA  .909%SP  2 SO

2. #37 Josh Harding (1-1-0)  2.92GAA  .885%SP  1 SO






Edmonton Oilers (17-22-7)  41pts  4th in the Northwest

2.39 Goals For (24th)

2.78 Goals Against (20th)

20.2% Power Play (8th)

83.5% Penalty Kill (10th)

Top 5 Scorers:

1. #4 Taylor Hall ~ 15G 30A = 45pts

2. #89 Sam Gagner ~ 14G 21A = 35pts

3. #14 Jordan Eberle ~ 13G 19A = 32pts

4. #64 Nail Yakupov ~ 12G 14A = 26pts

5. #93 Ryan Nugent-Hopkins ~ 4G 20A = 24pts

Top 3 PIM's:

1. #13 Mike Brown ~ 118 PIM's

2. #5 Ladislav Smid ~ 49 PIM's

3. #94 Ryan Smyth ~ 38 PIM's

Top Goaltender(s):

1. #40 Devan Dubnyk (13-16-6)  2.59GAA  .920%SP  2 SO

2. #35 Nikolai Khabibulin (3-6-1)  2.69GAA  .917%SP  1 SO

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Minnesota Wild & Chris VandeVelde


It's now or never.  And that's probably what has me as a hockey fan the most worried of all.  If Minnesota wants to make the playoffs for the first time since 2008, they're simply going to have to do it on their own.  Desperation seems to be the motivation that is driving Detroit and Columbus to keep them in the hunt, and it's pointless and foolhardy to hope their opponents beat them.  If they're going to play desperate and use that to propel them to victory, then Minnesota needs to do the same.  Along with desperation needs to be determination.  We saw that combo with Tuesday night's victory against Los Angeles.  Plus, it will hopefully be far more motivating for the Wild to make the playoffs because of their own blood, sweat and tears than failure by Detroit and Columbus.

Tonight, Minnesota could clinch their own playoff spot.  But to do that, they need to win.  Many could say, well it's Edmonton so it should be an easy win.  However, I refuse to believe that.  Edmonton, a team that Minnesota should beat, could be a major stumbling block.  The Oilers are facing their own downward spiral, having lost nine of their last ten games.  The Wild will see one of two opponents tonight.  They're either going to see a team that says "we're sick and tired of losing" or "we're going to continue to play for the best draft pick."  The Oilers have one of the league's worst records, but they're not at the bottom like they've been in previous seasons.  There's no way they're going to catch the Florida Panthers as the cellar dwellers, yet as the fifth worse team they have a good chance of winning the Draft Lottery.  However, if Edmonton happens to win the lottery this year, I think there will be many who cry foul, as they have won that lottery more times than not in recent years.    If we play the team that is hoping for a loss, all will be good.  Honestly, I don't think that's who we're going to see.  They may play this one with their hearts on their sleeves, wanting to get a final win on a division opponent that will no longer be a division opponent next season.  My hope is that they save that emotion for their game against Vancouver tomorrow while we face Colorado.

There will no doubt be challenges tonight.  We still have no word on Jason Pominville.  He's still listed as "day to day" by the team after the elbow to his face by Los Angeles' Dustin Brown.  For the blatant elbow, Brown was suspended two games, which conveniently were the last two games of the Kings' regular season.  Many fans around the league were hoping he'd get three games, as missing at least one playoff game would have finally sent a message to Brown who always plays on the edge of what is considered legal.  With Pominville's possible absence tonight, head coach Mike Yeo will most likely have to shift the lines once again.  Yeo already worked Jake Dowell into the lineup after his call-up, and there's now a good chance we'll see Stephane Veilleux dressed tonight.  But there's also the possibility that Mike Rupp will be back from his lower body injury tonight.  Personally, I like the energy that Veilleux brings, and Minnesota could always use more energy.

Tonight is the last home game of the regular season.  We can only hope the Wild do not disappoint the fans.  If they want to look ahead to playing next month, then they must take care of business tonight.  Plain and simple.


Jack Jablonski & Jenna Privette