Oilers welcome struggling Wild

(SportsNetwork.com) – The Edmonton Oilers look to post their second-longest
winning streak of the season on Tuesday night when the Western Conference’s
last-place team takes on the Minnesota Wild.

Only the Buffalo Sabres’ 31 points are fewer than the 33 the Oilers have
managed to record this season. Edmonton, though, is 5-4-2 over its last 11
games and won its final two outings before the All-Star break. That gave the
Oilers their first winning streak since picking up back-to-back victories on
Nov. 7 and 9.

A victory tonight would give Edmonton its longest winning streak since a
season-high four-game run from Oct. 20-27.

The Oilers rallied to beat the Washington Capitals 5-4 in a shootout last
Tuesday, getting goals from Teddy Purcell and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins in the third
period to tie the contest. Nugent-Hopkins forced overtime when he scored with
1:07 on the clock and Purcell later added the winner in the fourth round of
the tiebreaker.

Derek Roy and Nikita Nikitin also lit the lamp in regulation while Victor
Fasth earned the win with 20 saves.

“We can definitely take some positives out of this,” said Edmonton head coach
Todd Nelson. “It was a good character win. The guys stuck with it.”

It is unknown who will start in net tonight for the Oilers. Fasth has won both
of his career starts versus the Wild, giving up four goals on 58 shots, while
Ben Scrivens is 0-2 against them while yielding seven goals on 54 shots.

The Wild, meanwhile, are last in the Central Division and dropped their final
two games before the break. They also rallied to force extra time on Tuesday
versus Detroit, scoring three goals in the third period, but lost 5-4 in a

Zach Parise scored twice in the third frame, netting the game-tying goal when
he put in his own rebound with 6:39 on the clock, but both he and Mikko Koivu
failed to score in the shootout.

Darcy Kuemper, meanwhile, was beaten twice in the tiebreaker after making 14
saves in relief of Devan Dubnyk, who was lifted for allowing four goals on 10
shots in just over 27 minutes of action.

Thomas Vanek had a goal and an assist and Koivu also scored for the Wild, who
have dropped eight of 10.

“They’re good. They frustrate you because you feel like you are chasing the
puck all game,” Parise, who has scored in four straight games, said of the Red
Wings. “They’re tough to play against.”

Kuemper made his return to action after missing seven games in a row with a
lower-body injury, giving the Wild three healthy netminders along with Dubnyk
and Niklas Backstrom. Minnesota did temporarily relive the logjam by assigning
Kuemper to the American Hockey League on a conditioning stint on Monday.

That leaves Dubnyk as the likely starter tonight as he faces the club that
drafted him 14th overall in 2004 for the fourth time. Dubnyk has won each of
his previous three meetings with the Oilers, posting a 0.97 goals against
average and .968 save percentage.

Minnesota forward Mikael Granlund could return to action tonight from a wrist
injury that has sidelined him for the past 13 games. He has tallied four goals
and 15 points in 32 games on the season.

The Wild have won six of eight and 15 of their previous 19 meetings with the
Oilers, claiming three in a row and eight of the last nine tilts in Edmonton.