A season-high winning streak is on the line for the Minnesota Wild. They’ve won four games in a row for the second time this season and will try to make it five against the Edmonton Oilers in a matinee with a 1 p.m. puck drop.
The Wild (17-11-3) have spent much of their celebration time lately in overtime. They’re 12-4-1 since Nov. 9 but have just two regulation wins since Nov. 30. They’re 7-0-1 at home since Nov. 14.
The Wild are 13-3-1 in their last 17 contests with the Oilers and 22-4-1 in the last 27 against them in St. Paul. They swept the season series last year, going 3-0-0 against the Oilers (13-17-2) with wins in overtime, a shootout and regulation.
Alex Stalock is 2-1-0 with a 1.68 GAA and .939 save percentage in three career starts against the Oilers. Look for him in net with Devan Dubnyk injured and Stalock coming off his first shutout in a Wild sweater in the 2-0 victory Thursday night. Stalock could be tested with an Edmonton team that has averaged 41.25 shots on net their last four games.
Eric Staal still holds the Wild points lead with 27 (12-15—27). He has four points in the last three games.
Mikko Koivu has his highest point total against the Oilers with 45 points in 59 career games. He’ll look to use that momentum to try and bust out of his 22-game scoreless slump.
The Oilers come off a 4-0 loss to Nashville on Thursday, with the Oilers’ last-ranked penalty kill (72.1 percent) surrendering a pair of power play goals on three chances. The Wild have been short on power-play chances recently, but they might have a good shot to capitalize with the Oilers in town.
The Wild, on the other hand, is the best team in the NHL on the penalty kill, going 44 for 47 this season.
Young superstar Connor McDavid centers the top line with Milan Lucic and Jesse Puljujarvi. McDavid leads the team in scoring with 39 points (12-27—39) in 32 games. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins is tied for the team lead in goals (12).
The Oilers are set to start their top goaltender Cam Talbot after activating him from injured reserve on Friday. He’s 10-10-1 with a 3.00 GAA and .903 save percentage this season. He comes back having not participated in a full practice this past week.
The Wild are also hosting the second annual Girls’ Hockey Weekend at Xcel Energy Center. University of Minnesota Gopher alum and Team USA Olympian Krissy Wendell practiced with the Wild on Friday and will be part of the “Let’s Play Hockey!” announcement prior to the game.
Another familiar face practiced with the Wild: Zach Parise. He hasn’t played a minute this season after having back surgery. Parise said after Friday’s practice that he can’t rush it but things are going in the right direction.
Devan Dubnyk (lower body), 1 game
Jared Spurgeon (groin strain), 8 games
Zach Parise (microdiscectomy surgery), 31 games
Total man games lost: 75