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Photo Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

GDB 34.0: Wake Me Up When It’s Over (6pm MT, SNW)

The saying/quote, “Fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me,” is often very accurate in my world. At some point, we have to take ownership of what occurs in our life, but I will openly admit despite knowing what to expect I will still watch tonight’s game against the Minnesota Wild.

The Wild have had a decent amount of success since entering the NHL. They’ve made the playoffs in nine of their 18 previous seasons. They made the Conference Finals in 2003 and went to the second round in 2014 and 2015. They haven’t been dominant, but also haven’t been a sad-sack franchise. In those 18 seasons, they amassed the 19th most points among NHL franchises. The Oilers, in case you are wondering, picked up the fewest points. I’ve had a front row seat watching the struggles of the Oilers, and Oilersnation knows all to well how rough it has been.

While the Oilers have been dreadful, at least they’ve had some exciting offensive moments. You can’t say the same about the Wild. Only Arizona has scored fewer goals since the Wild arrived in the NHL in 2000. And no matter how much I try I can’t shake the notion of boring Minnesota Wild hockey.

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But despite me knowing the games are usually as exciting as getting a prostate exam, I will sit down and watch tonight’s game. I probably should PVR it and fast forward through, but I can’t. The Oilers lost 3-0 to the Wild on October 22nd after jumping out to a 3-0 lead in the first 16 minutes. I should have shut the TV off after the first, because you knew the Oilers weren’t coming back. But like a fool, I kept watching and I will again tonight.

I’m sure many of you are in the same boat. We know the Wild are sound defensively, and they patiently wait for the Oilers to make a mistake, and then the score. Rinse, wash, repeat. Now there are exceptions of course. Last season the Oilers pumped the Wild 7-2. It was a rare offensive explosion when these teams meet, but offence and the Wild are used together as often as Gregor and great hair.

Fans who like tight-checking defensive hockey will appreciate the Wild. I respect that, but I openly admit I’m biased towards offence. I’d much rather watch a game with numerous scoring chances and goals. But the Oilers/Wild games are rarely that.

Edmonton is 4-4-2 in their past 10 against the Wild. But outside of the 7-2 game, the scores have often been low scoring. In the other three Edmonton wins the combined goal totals in each game was five. In their six losses the teams combined for 27 goals for an average of 4.5 goals/game.

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I know head coach Dave Tippett and Oilers fans would gladly take a low-scoring game, if it ends in a victory. The Oilers need wins, regardless of the score, and with the race in the Pacific Division and Western Conference tightening up skating out of Minnesota with two points would be huge for Edmonton.

I should accept this game will most likely be a boring, uneventful game, but clearly I’m still foolish enough to think we might see some offence. Shame on me. How many of you are in the same boat?

LINEUP…

Oilers

Nygard-McDavid-Kassian
Draisaitl-RNH-Chiasson
Neal-Haas-Gagner
Khaira-Sheahan-Archibald

Nurse-Bear
Klefbom-Larsson
K.Russell-Jones

Smith

Patrick Russell and Markus Granlund are out and Alex Chiasson and Sam Gagner are in. Gagner has been quite productive in limited minutes five-on-five, so I like the decision to slide him back in. He can create offence, and that line shouldn’t face the toughest matchups tonight. McDavid’s line was very good against the Hurricanes, and Nygard didn’t look out of place. He misfired on his best chance in the slot, and the harsh reality of playing on the top line is you have to finish those types of chances.

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The Oilers really need the second line to do something tonight, especially at five-on-five. At the very least they can’t get outscored.

Wild

Parise-Donata-Fiala
Zucker-Kunin-Zuccarello
Foligno-Hartman-Rask
Greenway-Eriksson Ek-Mayhem

Suter-Dumba
Soucy-Brodin
Hunt-Menell

Kahkonen

The Wild are without one of their best defenders in Jared Spurgeon, and Eric Stall will be a game time decision. Mayhem will take the warmup in case Stall can’t play according to head coach Bruce Boudreau. If Stall plays then Kunin will slide down the lineup. With Spurgeon out that means either McDavid or Draisaitl won’t be facing the Suter/Dumba combination. I’m guessing Draisaitl-RNH-Chiasson will see more of the Soucy-Brodin combo.

TONIGHT…

Photoshop: Tom Kostiuk

GAME DAY PREDICTION: My rational brain says this should be a loss, but the last five visits to Minnesota have been L-W-L-W-L, so I’ll go with a hunch that trend continues and Oilers pick up a surprising 5-3 victory. **Yes, I’m foolish enough to think there will be more than five goals.**

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OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Oilers score a PP goal. The Wild have allowed 10 PP goals in their last 10 games.

NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Josh Archibald scores his 2nd goal of the season. Just over 19% of his career goals have come against the Wild. He scores tonight and that number jumps to 22%. Odd.

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