NHL Game Summary - Edmonton at Minnesota
(Sunday, March 22nd)
Final Score: Minnesota 3, Edmonton 0
St. Paul, MN (Sports Network) - Owen Nolan scored twice and Niklas Backstrom recorded his seventh shutout this season, as the Minnesota Wild topped the Edmonton Oilers, 3-0.
The Wild picked up crucial ground in the Western Conference playoff race, as they leapfrogged idle St. Louis into ninth place. Minnesota (76 points) trails idle Nashville by one point for the eighth and final playoff spot. Edmonton is in seventh place with 79 points.
"We're in desperate mode right now and have to get everything we can," Nolan said. "Especially playing a team that's within reach."
Minnesota, which has won two of three following a four-game losing streak, saw forward Marian Gaborik return. Gaborik has only played in six games this season because of chronic groin pain, and underwent hip surgery to alleviate the pain in early January. He skated just under 18 minutes in his first game since December 23.
Backstrom made 31 saves in the win, while Stephane Veilleux was credited with the Wild's final goal, which the Oilers actually put in their own net.
Dwayne Roloson gave up all three goals on 36 shots for Edmonton, which had its three-game win streak snapped.
"You hate to see the 30-plus shot shutouts," Oilers head coach Craig MacTavish said. "That means you're getting pucks to the net. If you're committed enough there, you should be able to get some offense."
After a scoreless first period, Nolan got the Wild on the board by stuffing in a rebound on a power-play with 5:34 left in the second period. Then, 4:19 into the third stanza, Nolan skated from behind the net to the right side of the ice and one-timed a James Sheppard feed past Roloson.
The Wild sealed the game at the 12:43 mark, when an attempted clearing pass tipped off an Edmonton player and went into the Oilers' net.
Backstrom's career shutout total stands at 16...Edmonton hosts Detroit on Tuesday...Minnesota begins a four-game road trip Tuesday in New York against the Rangers. The Wild will also visit the Islanders, Calgary and Edmonton.
03/22 20:59:59 ET