If the Minnesota Wild come up with some collective New Year’s resolutions, “Beating the Edmonton Oilers” shouldn’t be one of them. In a strange scheduling quirk, Thursday’s slump-busting 4-3 win will be their last game against the Oil this season – unless the two meet in an unlikely playoff series.
They might just miss the Oil a bit – they went 4-2-0 in their 2011-12 series – although the Wild’s other three wins against Edmonton came via shootouts.
Either way, the Wild will take this win, which ends an eight-game losing streak in which they went 0-5-3. Mikko Koivu scored a goal and an assist while Marek Zidlicky looked like his old, offensively potent self with a trio of helpers.
Oh, and Brad Staubitz did this to Theo Peckham:
Yup, that’s about all the Wild could really ask from a game.
The Vancouver Canucks will maintain the first spot in the Northwest regardless of how their game against the Anaheim Ducks turns out tonight (they’re currently leading the hapless Ducks 2-0), but Minnesota is currently “tied” with them at 48 points. Perhaps most importantly, Minnesota has a chance to go into the New Year on a positive note, as they’ll finish 2011 with a winnable game against a Phoenix Coyotes team that is struggling without Mike Smith.
In the big picture, the Wild are still in a better position than they likely expected to find themselves in, so they can focus on the positive with that eight-game monkey off their backs.