SUN Hockey Pool

Oilers look for rare Minny win

The Oilers' Andrew Cogliano crashes into Wild goaltender Niklas Backstrom during NHL action last...

The Oilers' Andrew Cogliano crashes into Wild goaltender Niklas Backstrom during NHL action last season. Both teams face off in Minnesota tonight. (QMI Agency file photo)

DEREK VAN DIEST, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 4:33 PM ET

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- The Edmonton Oilers will be trying to do Thursday night what they have been unable to do in over three years.

The Oilers have lost 13 straight games in Minnesota heading into their contest against the Wild (6:30 p.m.) at the Xcel Energy Center.

It's the second longest home win streak by one team over another. The Nashville Predators have won 14 straight games at home against the Columbus Blue Jackets.

"I don't concern myself with what's happened here before, I concern myself with one period at a time, regardless of what the other guy's jersey looks like or where we're playing," said Oilers head coach Tom Renney.

"This is about building a season and tonight we're in Minnesota, in a great building with a great fan base and a great place to play. We should all be excited about that and we'll let the chips fall where they may."

The contest represents the Wild's home opener, having played their first two games of the year in Finland, losing twice to the Carolina Hurricanes.

The Wild have won their last eight home openers.

"I think the key for us is to try and survive the first five minutes of the game and then try to play in five minute increments beyond that," said Renney.

"We have to try to push the pace ourselves, try to get their defence to turn to get pucks, really fortify our look with a hard forecheck and try to give away as little as possible in the neutral zone."

The Oilers will start Nikolai Khabibulin in net, while sitting out Steve MacIntyre and defenceman Jason Strudwick.

The Wild will start Niklas Backstrom, who has an 11-0 record at home against the Oilers with a 1.08 goals against and 0.958 save percentage.

Notes: Wild forward John Madden and Oilers centre Colin Fraser had their Stanley Cup rings delivered to them at the morning skate, as did Oilers assistant coach Steve Smith. The three were members of the Chicago Blackhawks last season with Smith serving in a scouting capacity with the Stanley Cup champions.


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