The Minnesota Wild are in an interesting position nearly a third of the way through this lockout-shortened season. A game above .500 in what is traditionally an extremely competitive division, the Wild are just two games out of first place. Minnesota needs to go on a run to contend for the division title, but they’re in position for a playoff push. After last season’s epic collapse in the second half, the Wild need more consistency this year.
To that end, the Edmonton Oilers are one of the most inconsistent teams in hockey. They have dynamic scorers and exciting young names, but the Oilers again have failed to translate preseason excitement into wins during an extremely disappointing stretch of play. Still, despite a lengthy losing skid marked by horrible play and a few blowouts, the Oilers are .500 this year and just one point behind the Wild coming into Thursday’s divisional rivalry game.
The Wild cannot afford to take the Oilers lightly in Edmonton. They have just one win on the road this season, which has all but negated an impressive 6-2-1 record on home ice. The Oilers offense is capable of unpredictable scoring outbursts and Devan Dubnyk can shut down anyone. Still, the Wild are the better team, and more importantly, they are playing much better than the Oilers lately–the Edmonton Oilers have just three wins in their last ten games.
In a battle of a slumping young team versus a terrible road team, I side with the more talented squad: Wild 4 – Oilers 2.