NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Sunday, March 3rd (All times Eastern)
Edmonton Oilers (8-8-4) at Minnesota Wild (10-8-2), 8 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Edmonton Oilers know they let a game slip away ahead of a trip to a city in which they have struggled mightily over the last six years.
The Oilers continue their longest road trip of the season on Sunday evening hoping to pick up a rare victory in Minnesota versus the Wild.
Edmonton has opened up a nine-game swing with a 1-1-1 record, but blew an early lead on Friday in St. Louis en route to a 4-2 setback. Taylor Hall and Ryan Whitney scored late first-period goals just 23 seconds apart, but the Blues tied the game with two goals in the second before netting the only two goals of the final frame.
"We came out well and got a two-goal lead, but they were a desperate team and didn't lay down," noted Edmonton forward Ben Eager.
Devan Dubnyk stopped 26 shots and Edmonton only managed 10 shots after firing off seven in the opening frame.
"We started turning the puck over and didn't get any shots. It's pretty frustrating," Whitney said.
Edmonton also played the third period without Hall, who left the game as a precautionary measure due to tightness in his leg. He is day-to-day and has a team-leading 14 assists with 18 points on the season.
Edmonton suffered its sixth loss in a row at St. Louis, but things have been much worse in Minnesota, where it has dropped 19 of its past 21 trips. That includes a 17-game slide that spanned from Feb. 25, 2007-Oct. 13, 2011.
The Oilers have also lost 11 of their past 13 overall to the Wild and hosted the club on Feb. 21 in the first of four meetings this season. Minnesota came away with a 3-1 win as Matt Cullen had two goals and an assist, while Niklas Backstrom made 27 saves.
Backstrom helped guide the Wild to a win over the Phoenix Coyotes on Thursday and then got the game off the following night in Anaheim. Darcy Kuemper made 26 saves in his third career start, but the Wild fell to the Ducks 3-2.
Anaheim netted the game's first three goals before Kyle Brodziak and Devin Setoguchi scored third-period tallies. Minnesota then received a late power play with 3:17 to play and later pulled Kuemper during the advantage to go up two men, but couldn't net the equalizer.
"I wish we could have gotten that third one," said Minnesota coach Mike Yeo. "I wish our guys could have been rewarded for that effort. Especially after being down 3-0 in our second game in two nights. We're not celebrating a victory, but I am very impressed with our guys."
Minnesota was looking for its first three-game winning streak of the season.
03/03 10:33:00 ET