The Sports Daily > Crease and Assist
Game Preview: Minnesota Wild vs. Edmonton Oilers @ 8:30PM CST at Rexall Place

Minnesota Wild (7-6-2)  16pts  (2nd in the Northwest)

2.07 Goals For per Game (30th)

2.47 Goals Against per game (10th)

15.1% Power Play (22nd)

84.0% Penalty Kill (9th)

Top 5 Scorers:

1. #11 Zach Parise ~ 7G 5A = 12pts

2. #9 Mikko Koivu ~ 3G 9A = 12pts

3. #15 Dany Heatley ~ 5G 4A = 9pts

4. #20 Ryan Suter ~ 0G 8A = 8pts

5. #77 Tom Gilbert ~ 3G 4A = 7pts

Top 3 PIM's:

1. #28 Zenon Konopka ~ 52 PIM's

2. #10 Devin Setoguchi ~ 12 PIM's

3. #27 Mike Rupp ~ 12 PIM's

Top Goaltender(s):

1. #32 Niklas Backstrom (5-4-2)  2.40GAA  .912%SP

2. #35 Darcy Kuemper (1-1-0)  2.02GAA  .934%SP






Edmonton Oilers (6-6-3)  15pts  (4th in the Northwest)

2.33 Goals For per Game (25th)

2.67 Goals Against per game (16th)

23.9% Power Play (6th)

87.1% Penalty Kill (4th)

Top 5 Scorers:

1. #89 Sam Gagner ~ 5G 11A = 16pts

2. #4 Taylor Hall ~ 3G 12A = 16pts

3. #14 Jordan Eberle ~ 5G 6A = 11pts

4. #83 Ales Hemsky ~ 7G 3A = 10pts

5. #64 Nail Yakupov ~ 5G 4A = 9pts

Top 3 PIM's:

1. #94 Ryan Smyth ~ 30 PIM's

2. #5 Ladislav Smid ~ 29 PIM's

3. #55 Ben Eager ~ 17 PIM's

Top Goaltender(s):

1. #40 Devan Dubnyk (5-4-3)  2.76GAA  .918%SP

2. #35 Nikolai Khabibulin (1-2-0)  1.91GAA  .940%SP

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Dany Heatley

Once upon a time, in a land far, far away, there was this place called Rexall Place.  Oh wait, that place still exists, and it's the exotic locale of tonight's Wild game.  But the Rexall Place of long ago and far away is still slightly different.  In those long ago times, it was near impossible for the Minnesota Wild to win a game.  They were dark times indeed.  Thankfully, the fortunes eventually changed.  Yet our improved fortunes haven't been quite the same for the Edmonton Oilers.  They have battled dismal seasons for quite a few years in a row.  If I were an Oilers fan, I'm not sure what my grasp of reality or sanity level would be.  Yes, their poor seasons have gifted them with a bonanza of talented first overall NHL draft picks, but until those draft picks mature and pan out, they're still nothing but hopes and dreams.

Now while the Wild have fared well in recent years in Edmonton, I don't know if that trend will continue tonight.  As we're all aware these days, Minnesota has been snake bitten on the road.  Either they lay the proverbial goose egg or they face a team that gets all the lucky bounces.  One would think that the fortunes would eventually have to change, but in a shortened season, it needs to happen sooner rather than later.  Never has there been a season for any team where road wins are so crucial.  Most teams play well in front of their home fans, but teams that tend to go far in the playoffs, usually find ways to win more road games than they lose.  Until the Wild can figure out how to win on the road (and on a regular basis as well), we as fans can expect our season to be over after the regular season.

Yet, Minnesota just might have a secret weapon when it comes to playing Edmonton.  No, I don't mean Zach Parise, because let's face it, he's a weapon but far from secret.  It's well known that he's a force to contend with on the roster plus he's a player that Western Conference teams are not as familiar with.  Nor is our secret weapon any of our other more high-profile players.  The secret weapon is Pierre-Marc Bouchard.  I'm not sure how he does it, but he is an "Oiler killer."  Due to this fact, Bouchard will be in and Wild rookie, Johan Larsson, will be a healthy scratch.  While Bouchard isn't in the top five in scoring for the team, we can only hope that his success against the Oilers will jump-start our finding success on the road.

Most stories that start out with "once upon a time" usually end with "and they lived happily ever after."  Whether or not we get the happy ending to the story is yet to be seen.  And since we don't have the magic mirror that the evil witch in Snow White had, we will have to wait and see.


Jack Jablonski & Jenna Privette