Edmonton Oilers vs. Minnesota Wild Pick & Prediction DECEMBER 8th 2023

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The Edmonton Oilers will look to add to their season-best, five-game winning streak and the visiting Minnesota Wild will try to begin another winning spree when the clubs meet Friday night.

The Oilers have been climbing the standings since handing the coaching reins to Kris Knoblauch just over three weeks ago. They reached a new level during the current run, which included an impressive 6-1 win over the Carolina Hurricanes on Wednesday to kick off a six-game homestand.

“It’s a good chance for us to kind of establish this building as a tough building to come into,” Edmonton forward Ryan Nugent-Hopkins said. “We’re going to have to keep building on it.”

Captain Connor McDavid has collected 19 points (4-15-19) in a seven-game point streak, while defenseman Evan Bouchard has netted 12 points (2-10-12) in a nine-game streak, but a huge key to Edmonton’s turnaround has been an improved defensive play. During the streak, the Oilers have outscored the opposition by an impressive 26-8 margin (not including the extra “goal” credited for winning a shootout).

“Obviously a lot of good signs,” McDavid said. “It’s something that we want to keep going. It feels good in the room. You can feel like there’s a little bit of momentum and it shows on the ice.”

Edmonton No. 1 goalie Stuart Skinner struggled to start the season, but in his last five games, he is 5-0-0 with a 1.58 goals-against average.

“It just breeds confidence for the entire team,” Knoblauch said. “Often when your goalie is struggling, the defensemen are always hesitant because they don’t want to get involved in the play. They don’t want to make a mistake.”

The Wild arrive after a 2-0 road loss to the Vancouver Canucks on Thursday. The result ended Minnesota’s four-game winning streak that coincided with John Hynes taking over the coaching duties after Dean Evason was fired on Nov. 27.

Against the Canucks, the Wild fired the first 10 shots on goal, but their inability to take a lead proved costly en route to their first shutout loss of the season.

“We didn’t have our best for 60 minutes, but we didn’t play terribly,” Minnesota forward Marcus Johansson told the St. Paul Pioneer Press. “We gave up some chances in the end, when we were chasing. We started well, and then they came back a little bit. That’s a good hockey team.”

Although Minnesota had reason to be disappointed with the loss in Vancouver, it is worth noting the Wild have outscored their opponents 18-7 over the past five outings.

“We were riding a high, winning four in a row, but we’ve got to see what we’re made of (Friday) night,” Wild defenseman Jon Merrill said. “And luckily we do have a chance to get out there … and right what happened.”

Hynes added, “There’s a lot of good lessons out of this game. The first four games were a little bit different style of games. This is the first time we’ve seen this style of game against us, and we didn’t handle it the right way, so it’s a good opportunity to grow.”

Minnesota has won nine of its last 10 games against the Oilers, including a 7-4 win at Saint Paul, Minn., on Oct. 24.

–Field Level Media

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