PREVIEW: MN Wild Host the Edmonton Oilers

AP Photo/Craig Lassig

The Minnesota Wild host the Edmonton Oilers at the Xcel Center on Tuesday, 10/23, at 8 p.m. CT for the last game of their three-game homestand. Both teams have less than stellar records this far in the season, and Tuesday’s battle might be close to a battle of equals. This game is part of the NHL’s “Frozen Frenzy,” where all 32 teams will be in action.

Injury Rosters Are Filling Up

Fans know that the Wild have been dealing with impactful injuries with Matt Boldy out from the second line while Jared Spurgeon’s absence has caused a blue line shuffle. Boldy and Spurgeon are noticeable and productive players who can’t seem to come back into the lineup soon enough. Both are still listed as week-to-week with upper-body injuries. In good news, Boldy will be traveling with the team on their three-game road trip starting on Thursday and could play in the last game a week from Tuesday against the New Jersey Devils. 

Alex Goligoski is also injured and was placed on LTIR last week. This move helped the Wild be able to afford one more player after playing short while on the road. While Goligoski was frequently a healthy scratch, he was also a dependable veteran player who was able to step into Spurgeon’s spot. 

The Oilers will also be without their best player. Connor McDavid left Saturday’s game against the Winnipeg Jets with 4 minutes to go in the third player. Later, it was announced that he would be out for 1-2 weeks with an upper-body injury that appeared to be muscular.

Who Will Show Up to Play for the Wild?

Saying that the Wild have been inconsistent is a bit of an understatement. Kirill Kaprizov has been on the scoresheet, but not as noticeable as usual. While he does take a bit to warm up into the regular season, hopefully, five games was enough. While he will most likely still be skating with his buddy Mats Zuccarello, they will need to focus on putting the puck on the net instead of passing to each other.

The second line with Joel Eriksson Ek at center typically passes the eye test. During Saturday’s game, Pat Maroon was pulled up to that line and it proved an interesting and mostly successful experiment. Will that be repeated? Or will Vinni Lettieri, the latest call-up from the Iowa Wild, slide into the second line?

The third line has also been consistent. Marco Rossi looks stronger and more confident this year. He’s putting pucks on the net and managed to score his first goal. Marcus Foligno has one assist on the season so far, but he’s been noticeably more offensive. Freddy Gaudreau rounds out the third line. Can this line keep meshing well together and start to score more? With the first and second lines in the shake-up, the game against the Oilers could be a good test.

The blue line seems to be a problem without a solution. Jake Middleton has struggled without Spurgeon, his usual defensive partner, to lean on. Brock Faber and Jonas Brodin were amazing when skating together but had to be split up in order to beef up the other pairings. During Saturday’s game, Brodin and Calen Addison were the first pair. Middleton slid down to the second pairing alongside Faber. The third pairing was Dakota Mermis and Jon Merrill. Will these pairs stay together during Tuesday’s game or is there a different configuration that makes sense?

There also hasn’t been an inkling of who might start in the net on Tuesday. While both goalies have played pretty well in goal, Filip Gustavsson continues to shine. During Saturday’s loss, Gustavsson stopped 49 out of 54 shots. The only reason the Wild had a fighting chance that night was because of Gustavsson’s solid performance in the net. He would be a logical starter. However, Evason stressed during preseason that there would be no definite starter, so it wouldn’t be a surprise if they flipped to Marc-Andre Fleury instead.

Stats So Far This Season

The Wild are 2-2-1, and the Oilers are 1-3-1, so both teams are coming in, battling hard to get a good start on the season. Both teams are also coming off of an overtime loss. Stats for their special teams are also similar. The Wild are 14th in the league with a penalty kill percentage of 78.6%, while the Oilers are tied for 20th with 71.4%. On the flip side, the Oilers have the 5th ranked power play at 30% while the Wild are at 13th with 20%.

PWHL Minnesota is a Mess. Can It Be Saved? Her Wild Side Hockey Podcast

In this episode, Mikki talks about the disgusting state of the PWHL Minnesota team, some other offseason Minnesota Wild news, and comparing Wild players to characters from Phineas and Ferb. Links:Her Wild Side Merch Shop!Ticketmaster Affiliate LinkSocial Media:TwitterInstagramFacebookFor more from us, visit Inside The RinkHow to support us and our sponsors:Columbia Sports ApparelESPN+ SubscriptionFanaticsDraft Kings – CODE ITR  
  1. PWHL Minnesota is a Mess. Can It Be Saved?
  2. Free Agency and Why Jake Middleton Reminds Me of Binky Barnes
  3. Minnesota Wild Draft Day Overview
  4. The Wild's Goalie Problem, Game 7, and Free Agency Prep
  5. There Is No NHL Offseason This Year

One thought on “PREVIEW: MN Wild Host the Edmonton Oilers”

  1. I love this podcast! I know absolutely nothing about hockey but want to learn since I’m a Minnesotan now! Thanks Mikki! I’ll continue learning from you!

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