Series (Game 1 of 6)

Minnesota leads 6-0

Game 1: Thursday, October 14th
Game 2: Thursday, October 21st
Game 3: Tuesday, January 18th
Game 4: Tuesday, February 22nd
Game 5: Thursday, March 31st
Game 6: Friday, April 8th

Oilers 2

(2-1-0, 4 pts)

Wild 4

(1-1-1, 3 pts)

8:30 PM ET, October 14, 2010

Xcel Energy Center, Saint Paul, Minnesota

1 2 3 T
EDM 0 2 02
MIN 1 2 14

M. Koivu (Wild - C): Goals: 2, Assists: 1

M. Cullen (Wild - C): Goals: 1, Assists: 1

M. Zidlicky (Wild - D): Goals: 0, Assists: 1

Oilers-Wild Preview


A pair of home wins has the Edmonton Oilers' season off to a positive start. However, the momentum generated from those victories might not be enough to help the club end their struggles in Minnesota.

The Oilers look to avoid a 14th consecutive road loss to the winless Wild on Thursday night.

Edmonton finished with an NHL-low 62 points last season, but some young talent and new coach Tom Renney have the Oilers confident that improvement will happen this season.

The Oilers certainly need to play better on the road after going 9-28-4 last season.

"You got to play simple on the road," defenseman Ryan Whitney told the Oilers' official website. "It seems like it takes a lot more to win there, and just making simple plays. There is a way to play a road game to be successful."

Edmonton has not been successful in St. Paul, going 0-11-2 since a 2-1 victory Jan. 16, 2007.

Renney, though, believes his current squad has the right makeup to end that skid.

"I like our energy, and I think we're maybe just naive enough, too, where it doesn't really matter -- whatever happened in the past is that," Renney said. "And maybe we can create an advantage for ourselves by really not caring. Just go play."

Rookie Jordan Eberle has a goal and assist through two games, while this year's No. 1 overall pick, Taylor Hall, recorded an assist for his first NHL point in Edmonton's 3-2 win over Florida on Sunday.

Shawn Horcoff has two goals this season, but just two assists in his last six games versus Minnesota.

Returning from back surgery that kept him out since November, Nikolai Khabibulin could be back in net after stopping 63 of 65 shots in the first two games.

"It's good to know we have that," Renney said.

Khabibulin, however, is 0-5-1 with a 2.51 GAA at Minnesota.

Wild netminder Niklas Backstrom is 11-0-0 with a 1.08 GAA against the Oilers at home. He has four shutouts and allowed more than two goals once in those contests.

Backstrom is likely to be in net after he allowed five goals on 68 shots while Minnesota went 0-1-1 against Carolina in his hometown of Helsinki, Finland last week.

Matt Cullen had a goal with an assist and Mikko Koivu added two assists in those games. Koivu has a goal and 13 assists in his last 11 home games against the Oilers.

The Wild look to avoid losing three straight games to open a season for the first time in franchise history. Second-year coach Todd Richards feels his club has the right attitude to get back on track.

"You need some leadership and character to win the games, especially when things aren't going the way you want," Richards told the Wild's official website. "You need guys who have been there to lead the way. It looks good right now.

"It's understanding it and believing in it, that this is the way we need to play."

The Wild have won eight consecutive home openers since tying Philadelphia in their inaugural season of 2000-01.