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GDB 28.0: Beat The “Wild”card (7pm MT, SN1)

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Photo credit:Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports
Jason Gregor
1 month ago
Be sure to check out the latest Oilers game day odds from NHL lines site Betway
With offence on the rise again and parity across the league, it is never too early to look at playoff positioning. And considering the Pacific Division has never had five teams make the playoffs in the wildcard era, games against the Central teams are very meaningful.
The NHL introduced the current playoff format in 2014, where the top three teams in the division make the playoffs, and then the two best records of the remaining teams in each conference grab the two wildcard spots. The Central division grabbed both wildcard spots in 2014, 2015, 2016, 2019, and 2022. In 2017 and 2018 each division had one wildcard team. The 2020 and 2021 seasons were altered due to COVID.
The playoff race is very tight today with Edmonton and Calgary holding down the two wildcard spots, and the race for the playoffs will be intense.
Vegas, Winnipeg, Dallas and Seattle have some breathing room, but the other four spots have Minnesota, Edmonton, Calgary, Colorado and Los Angeles ranging in P% of .563-.552. It is very close, and I’m still not sold on Seattle, or even Vegas, due to Alex Pietrangelo’s absence for family reasons, and no one in the Pacific is safe. But if all five Pacific teams want to make the playoffs for the first time ever, they will need to beat the Central teams who are in the wildcard hunt.
The Oilers have struggled mightily against Minnesota for many years. The Wild are currently on a seven-game winning streak where they’ve outscored the Oilers 35-16. A win tonight won’t guarantee Edmonton a playoff spot, but they need to solve the Wild, who have been their kryptonite for years.
“I wish I had an answer for you,” said Connor McDavid when I asked him why they have struggled so much more against the Wild than any other NHL team. “We understand it has been like that. Last year we played them three times and they beat us bad all three times and obviously we are down one to them this year. We have to figure out a way to get a win.”
The challenge is there isn’t just one solution to solve the Minnesota puzzle. The players won’t say it, but I’m sure it is a bit mental at this point. It doesn’t make sense that Edmonton has a .594P% in 16 against Vegas, while losing 14 of 19 to the Wild and posting an ugly .263P%. Minnesota hasn’t been a more dominant team than Vegas since they debuted in 2017, but the Wild look like Stanley Cup champions when they face the Oilers.
Is tonight the night the Oilers solve the Wild riddle? We wait.

GDB PRESENTED BY BETWAY

LINEUPS…

Oilers

Draisaitl – McDavid – Hyman
Janmark – RNH – Yamamoto
Holloway – Hamblin – Puljujarvi
Kostin – Shore – Ryan
Nurse – Ceci
Kulak – Barrie
Broberg – Bouchard
Skinner
No surprise the Oilers will ice the same lineup that trounced Arizona 8-2 on Wednesday. Warren Foegele skated with the team this morning and is getting close to returning. Jay Woodcroft couldn’t say for sure he’d play on the upcoming two-game road trip, but he did add, “It was a good sign having Foegele on the ice.” Earlier in the week I was told they were hopeful he’d play on the road trip, and it seems to be trending in that direction.
Tyler Benson cleared waivers and was reassigned to Bakersfield. The fact he was placed on waivers tells me Foegele is close to coming off IR.

Wild…

Kaprizov – Steel – Zuccarello
Petan – Gaudreau – Boldy
Greenway – Eriksson Ek – Foligno
Reaves – Dewar – Shaw
Middleton – Spurgeon
Brodin – Dumba
Goligoski – Merrill
Fleury
Jonas Brodin returns to the Wild lineup after missing four games with an injury. He’ll slot in with Matt Dumba and Alex Goligoski slides down and will play with Jon Merrill. The Oilers need to be ready to match the physicality of the Wild. Their top line isn’t big, but the other three all have big, physical players.

TONIGHT…

Photoshop: Tom Kostiuk
GAME DAY PREDICTION: Edmonton avoids losing eight in a row to Minnesota for the second time in franchise history (the Wild won eight in a row between October 2010 and October 2011). Oilers pick up a 4-2 win.
OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: McDavid and Draisaitl connect on a power play goal.
NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Oilers score first for the third game in a row.

MONTH OF GIVING…

Thanks to Wade for his great bid of $6,000 on the Associate Membership at the Glendale Golf and Country Club yesterday.
DAY Seven: Pyramid of Giving
We will build a pyramid of giving to help the Holiday Hamper. It is a simple donation.
We will have 15 people donate $100.
Ten people will donate $200.
Four people will donate $500
And two people, or companies, will donate $1000.
And we will raise $7,500 for the Christmas Bureau. (Tax receipt included).

It goes from 2-6 p.m. on TSN 1260. You can text the show between 2-6 p.m. at 101260 and include your name and donation amount. Lisa and her team from the Christmas Bureau will call you to get your information. 
Thanks in advance.

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