With a talented young lineup and an undefeated Edmonton team coming to town, Minnesota will need lots of energy to contain No. 1 overall draft pick Taylor Hall and company to secure the first win of the 2010 NHL season.
Coming off a disappointing NHL premiere week in Finland where Minnesota dropped both games to Carolina in two one-goal games.
Although the Wild notched one point in a shootout loss, Minnesota is looking not to repeat last years start where the Wild had trouble getting started and never recovered as a team.
The three keys to the game tonight:
1. Sustained Forecheck
The Minnesota offense will need to be able to provide sustained offense in the Edmonton zone if they wish to shutdown and young, speedy and talented group of forwards.
Andrew Brunette leads the Wild all-time in scoring against Edmonton notching 17 goals and 22 assists in 59 games.
Niklas Backstrom is also hot against the Oilers with a 14-2-1 record and a 1.74 GAA and a .934 save percentage lifetime against Edmonton.
2. Defense from Offense
Edmonton will be a tough team to stop this year with lots of speed on the ice and terrific scoring ability. It will take all five men on the ice to be able to stop the potent offense Edmonton brings to the ice this season.
Backchecking will be crucial tonight; Edmonton has scored seven goals in two games while only allowing two. The Oilers will use their speed and the transition game for most of their offense tonight so the Wild must be on alert at all times.
3. 60 Minutes...
If there was one complaint that the Wild players got from the coaching staff last season that was heard over and over again was the lack of a 60-minute effort.
After a come-from-behind win against Chicago back in January, the Wild should understand that a full game's effort is needed, and they will need it tonight.
The puck drops tonight at 7:00 p.m from the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul in the Wild's season opener at the "X."