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Edmonton Oilers vs Minnesota Wild Gambling Preview & Free NHL Picks

Oilers vs Wild NHL Handicapping

As trade deadline came and went and spring is around the corner, the Minnesota Wild are certainly an intriguing team in the Western Conference. The same can’t be said for Wednesday night’s competition, however.

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Date/Time: Tuesday, March 11, 2014, 8:00 pm EST
Venue: Xcel Energy Center, Saint Paul, MN
Odds: Minnesota -1.5
Moneyline: Oilers 2.75, Wild 1.48

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It’s true that the Minnesota Wild only sit fourth in the Central division, and with a recent three-game skid, pulses are rising as it regards the state of pro hockey in “The State of Hockey.” Yet, the Wild did as much or more than any team in the league when it came to buttressing areas of need during the deadline.

In acquiring winger Matt Moulson, the team got an undeniable boost to its offensive output; grabbing bizarre goalie Ilya Bryzgalov from (strange coincidence!) the Oilers shores up an area made rocky due to Josh Harding’s injuries and Niklas Backstrom’s inconsistency.

With franchise pieces Zach Parise and Ryan Suter already receiving praise and further players like Jason Pominville, Mikael Granlund and Nino Niederreiter asserting themselves, the Wild look well-poised for the home stretch of the regular season.

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Desperately looking to atone for the three-game losing streak, that crucial home stretch starts immediately when Edmonton comes to town.

The Oilers have had a lousy season by damn near any metric, but they will continue to get younger – most of us didn’t think that possible – and made a savvy deadline move themselves when they acquired goaltender Viktor Fasth from the Anaheim Ducks. Parting with eccentric and costly Bryzgalov and bringing in Fasth to pair with the underrated Ben Scrivens in net is certainly an upgrade for the Albertans.

Still, the rebuild continues unabated in Edmonton, much to the chagrin of the passionate fan base.
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As it pertains to this match-up, the Wild look to have the pieces to get back in the win column versus the hapless Oil. Edmonton’s defense corps is young and not overly talented; Moulson is just another scorer the blueline must account for beyond Parise, Pominville, Granlund, et al.

Despite the bevvy of well-documented young talent in Edmonton, the Oilers have struggled to put the puck in the net this season, ranking only 22nd in the NHL in goals per game (2.5).

While a dynamic young pup like Taylor Hall or Jordan Eberle could emerge on any given night, it hasn’t been happening as often as you might think (especially in the case of 2012 first overall pick Nail Yakupov, who only has 11 goals in 59 games).

If newly-acquired Bryzgalov or Darcy Kuemper is on their game between the pipes, the Wild stand a good chance of stifling whatever offense Edmonton can muster.

There are a lot of pieces to like on the Minnesota roster, even if the parts have been a little more tantalizing than the sum to this point in the season. Young Swedish blueliner Jonas Brodin is a defensive stalwart to pair with one of the league’s elite D-men in Suter.

The Wild have their usual spate of unmentioned, blue-collar grinders that always make them plucky competitors. Even though they find themselves behind St. Louis, Chicago and Colorado in the divisional race, the Wild is the type of team that could heat up and maybe even make some noise in the Western Conference playoff picture.

For the Oilers it’s the all-too-familiar refrain: Better luck next year. Wednesday night’s tilt in the Twin Cities should simply be another embodiment of that phrase.

Wild 4, Oilers 2

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