Thursday, October 13, 2011

Game Day: Oilers vs Wild

Edmonton (1-0-0) vs Minnesota (1-1-1)

Time:     6:00pm
Where:   Xcel Energy Center
Watch:   Sportsnet West
Listen:    630 Ched

Projected Line Combinations

Hall - Nugent-Hopkins - Hemsky
Smyth - Belanger - Eberle
Paajarvi - Horcoff - Jones
Petrell - Lander - Hordichuk

Looks like Linus Omark will be in the press box against the Wild but I am still not 100% sold on this being the case. If Minnesota decides to sit tough guy Matt Kassian, not likely but possible, I can't see Renney playing Hordichuk. We shall see but I am not happy with that second line remaining one to get Eberle the damn puck!!! 

Nice to see Petrell in the lineup. Look for the Finn to be flying around the sheet at the Xcel Center and trying to nail everything that moves. Will be a nice fit on the PK, which will mean either Magnus Paajarvi or Ryan Smyth will be given a bump off one of the three penalty kill units. 
Defence Pairings

Gilbert - Sutton
Barker - Petry

Smid - Peckham

No change to the backend but lets hope the Oilers can stay out of the box and not have to rely on Smid and Peckham so heavily on the penalty kill.
Peckhaam has to be better 5-on-5, he needs to turn it around starting tonight against the Wild. Look for Cam Barker to be going extra hard tonight, as he has something to prove. The defenceman would like nothing more then to show the Wild, first hand, that they made a huge mistake buying him out. If the Oilers are smart, they will look to feed Barker early on the PP and have him use his booming shot. Should be interesting to see what kind of reaction he gets from the fans in Minny.  

No word on who will be between the pipes but one would guess it will be Nikolai Khabibulin. Makes sense to play the vet tonight and then go back to Devan Dubnyk on Saturday night against the Canucks. Khabby is chomping at the bit to get into the Oilers net. I would expect a big performance out of # 35 in Minnesota.

Injury Update

  • The trio of Ryan Whitney, Ben Eager and Sam Gagner  will not accompany the club to Minnesota as all three remain on the sideline with injuries. It is looking less and less likely that Ben Eager will be ready to go on Saturday but I think they figures something out and have Eager in the starting lineup in Vancouver.
   Minnesota Notes

  • After winning their opener on home ice the club returned from a mini two game road trip with a pair of loses, one in a shootout to the Ottawa Senators.
  • Niklas Backstrom has been an Oiler killer for years in this building so expect the veteran Finnish netminder to get the call for the Wild
  • The Wild moved recently waived Eric Nystrom, to the Dallas Stars on Wednesday afternoon for future considerations.
  • Look for Edmonton to have their hands full with Minnesota's top unit of Dany Heatley - Mikko Koivu - Devin Setoguchi. The trio could be deadly this season for the Wild.

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